“In these tough economic times,” as many budget stories begin, lawmakers are looking for ways to slash federal and local spending. Promises are made – and broken. People look to their representatives in government to do the right thing, in order to benefit their communities. After all, it takes money to run a country, and to help the people who live there. The budget has to be balanced somehow.
Rep. Mike Pence thinks that can be done by cutting all federal funding of Planned Parenthood. On the House floor Thursday, he announced that while “abortion is ‘unfortunately’ still legal in the U.S.,” his amendment would prevent taxpayer money from “funding abortion procedures.” On Friday, the House voted to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
Make no mistake, this is NOT an amendment designed to save taxpayers’ money. Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from spending federal money on abortion services. It must use private money to pay for abortions – that’s why groups like DCAF exist to help make up the difference when women can’t foot the bill themselves. The Pence Amendment is really an attempt to deny contraception and other family planning services, sex education, PAP smears, HIV screening, prenatal care and all the other non-abortion related services it provides to millions of women each year by cutting off all federal money to Planned Parenthood – unless it stops performing abortions. In essence, it’s an indirect attempt to deny abortion services by making federal money an incentive for Planned Parenthood to get out of the “abortion business,” but it is a direct attack on all the other services the government currently funds – services that no one else is equipped to provide on the same scale should Planned Parenthood be denied the money.
The whole crux of the Pence Amendment’s existence is to limit women’s access to abortion, or deny it all together. This isn’t fiscal responsibility; it’s another slap in the face of women’s reproductive health.
Thankfully, some leaders in Congress saw the amendment for what it is. The Washington Post has reported that Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Barbara Lee and Louise Slaughter argued that the Pence amendment is a “war against women.” And on the House floor Thursday night, Rep. Jackie Speier spoke about her own abortion – and called the amendment’s supporters out for having nothing to do with building the economy, and everything to do with denying women the health care they need.
“There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood, and it was played out in this room tonight,” Speier said. “I would suggest to you that it would serve us all very well if we moved on with this process and started focusing on creating jobs for Americans who desperately want them.”
You can watch her whole statement here:
And when Rep. Paul Broun suggested that “more black babies” are targeted by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, Rep. Gwen Moore shot right back, pleading with them “to not de-fund the ability of women to plan parenthood.”
“I am really touched by the passion of the opposite to want to save black babies. I can tell you, I know a lot about having black babies: I’ve had three of them,” she said, going on to describe her experience as a poor mother who had an unplanned pregnancy. “The public policy has treated poor children and women who have not had the benefit of planned parenthood with utter contempt.”
Her words are poignant, and no blog post could summarize them. Listen for yourself here: