The GOP Unleashes a Horrifying Attack on Women
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Republicans came to D.C. "and immediately started putting the government in charge of every single pregnancy in America," said Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night.
She's right, and it's horrifying: the blows to women's rights keep coming out of Washington every hour, it seems. The latest? A bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of all funding. This bill is no surprise coming on the heels of a coordinated right-wing attack on Planned Parenthood and a spate of nasty undercover videos by discredited right-wing prankster Lila Rose. But it would do a lot of damage to a lot of women, explains Nick Baumann at Mother Jones:
"[It] will cut $327 million in family planning funding that goes to organizations like Planned Parenthood but that cannot be used to pay for abortions. This money, instead, is used to fund cancer screenings, birth control, and other health care services for poor people. The $327 million is the sum total of this sort of funding under current law. The House GOP is trying to zero out Planned Parenthood."
Republicans' twisted justification for cutting funds is that any money that goes to Planned Parenthood, even for cancer screenings, frees up the organization's funds for abortion. But the pragmatic reality shows that cutting such funding would be devastating to women, ending the ability for many of them to prevent pregnancy at low cost and thereby potentially causing more abortions. Cuts that would deprive women of cancer screenings are unconscionable. Because Planned Parenthood treats sexually active women as human beings, it has become target #1.
What's shocking about all these attacks is that the GOP doesn't even pretend to care about women this time around, as they sometimes do--instead, they're waging an all-out war on women's health. One of the most egregious salvos in this war on women is the treatment of "rape" exceptions to a proposed abortion funding ban. A massive outcry arose when the phrase "forcible rape" appeared in the notorious H.R. 3 bill--essentially redefining "acceptable" rape using an arbitrary term. It was a nasty bit of work, allowing for rape exceptions only if was the "right kind of rape." Note to Republicans, women said: all rape is forcible. The bill's sponsors claimed the offensive phrase had been removed. But according to reports on Wednesday, it was still there.
And yet another controversy has followed in this one's wake, thanks to anti-choice congressman Joe Pitts (PA) who introduced a new facet to yet another awful bill, H.R. 358. This new provision would allow emergency room and other hospital and health personnel to refuse emergency care rather than perform abortion procedures they disagree with. As Dante Atkins at Daily Kos writes, “This modification is simple: it would allow hospitals to make a 'decision of conscience' to let women die.”
Yes, you heard that right. Jill Filipovic at Feministe points out the irony that when hospitals refuse life-saving abortions to women, the fetus often dies along with her. So, she writes, “the entire purpose of this bill is to allow ideologues to refuse necessary, life-saving care to patients, if those patients happen to be pregnant.”
And it doesn't stop there. To add insult to injury, these kinds of attacks are also going down on the state level. Last week at AlterNet, we documented the ways Republicans have been using state-by-state legislation to deprive women of abortion rights, placing their own whim to indulge in some good old-fashioned sexual shaming far above the needs of their constituents hurting for money, jobs and health care.
The End of Abortion in the U.S.?
Is it a coincidence that all this is happening at once?