War on Women Update

Gail Collins on House Republicans versus Planned Parenthood:

The House Judiciary Committee has been investigating the matter with lawyerly precision, starting with a hearing titled: “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” In a further effort to offer balance and perspective, the committee did not invite Planned Parenthood to testify.

(Coming soon: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce prepares to welcome Pope Francis with a hearing on “Papal Fallibility: Why He’s Totally, Completely and Utterly Off Base About Global Warming.”)

Yesterday the House voted, mostly on party lines, to defund Planned Parenthood. That was a move meant to mollify the Scorched Earth crowd, who are determined to force another government shutdown on the issue.

Republican leaders don’t want such a shutdown, possibly because a recent poll showed that 71 percent of Americans don’t want another shutdown over Planned Parenthood. Even a small majority of Republicans don’t want it. Government shutdowns are a well-trodden path to Loserville for Republicans. So the vote was supposed to let the fire-eaters vent by voting for a bill that won’t become law. Whether this will settle them down remains to be seen.

We should brace for an uptick in women’s health clinic violence, which will not be limited to abortion clinics:

A summer of increasingly hysterical rhetoric aimed at Planned Parenthood culminated over the weekend in what appears to be a terrorist attack on a clinic in a small town in Eastern Washington. At 3:30 a.m. on Friday, the Planned Parenthood of Pullman—subject to a huge protest recently—caught fire in what investigators are deeming an arson. The damage was extensive enough to close down the clinic for at least a month. A federal anti-terrorism task force has been called in to investigate.

Anti-abortion terrorism is nothing new, of course, but at this point, it’s worth asking if “anti-abortion” is too narrow a term. After all, the clinic in question did not offer abortion. Nor was the Aug. 22 protest at the clinic, which drew an estimated 500 people, really about abortion. The protesters, who were part of a nationally organized series of actions against Planned Parenthood, were demanding the end of funding for contraception and other nonabortion service

 They’re really against health care for women. Compare/contrast to the Taliban in Afghanistan awhile back, which infamously cut women off from health care by declaring women could not be examined by male doctors while banning female doctors from their practices. Pry this hysteria down to its root, and you’ll find fear and loathing of female sexuality.

One of the Right’s favorite fictions is that if funding were cut off from Planned Parenthood, all kinds of other health care providers would step up to replace them. Experience is not showing that to be true. Gail Collins again:

Jindal cut off $730,000 in Medicaid reimbursements to his state’s two Planned Parenthood clinics, even though neither offers abortion services. They do, however, provide thousands of women with health care, including screening for sexually transmitted infections — a terrible problem in some parts of the state.

No big deal. When the issue went to court, Jindal’s administration provided a list of more than 2,000 other places where Planned Parenthood’s patients could get care.

“It strikes me as extremely odd that you have a dermatologist, an audiologist, a dentist who are billing for family planning services,”responded the judge.

Whoops. It appeared that the list-makers had overestimated a tad, and the number of alternate providers was actually more like 29. None of which had the capacity to take on a flood of additional patients.

I liked this bit:

When Planned Parenthood leaves town, bad things follow. Ask the county in Indiana that drove out its clinic, which happened to be the only place in the area that offered H.I.V. testing. That was in 2013; in March the governor announced a “public health emergency” due to the spike in H.I.V. cases.

And the clincher:

Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, studied what happened when Texas blocked Planned Parenthood grants and tried to move the money to other providers. Even when there were other clinics in an area, she said, “they were overbooked with their own patients. What happened in Texas was the amount of family planning services dropped. And the next thing that happened, of course, was that unplanned pregnancies began to rise.”

At least, the American Taliban won’t put women in burqas. More likely they’ll mandate modest calico dresses and sunbonnets.

9 thoughts on “War on Women Update

  1. If someone has genuine moral qualms about abortion, I’m not necessarily going to hold that against them. But if you’re against both abortion and contraception, I’ve got no sympathy whatsoever.

    It used to mystify me how people who are allegedly against abortion also tend to push policies that lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancies. But now I think these people don’t really want to end abortion all. If they ever succeeded they’d just have to find something else to get all self-righteous about. I agree that it’s primarily about fear of women’s sexuality, but I think that’s another thing that’s going on: Condemning abortion is a cheap and easy way to feel morally superior.

  2. I think there is a political side to it as well, it’s an easy button to push when the right wants to get out the vote or fire up the base for some other reason. Of course, it wasn’t always so, even the Southern Baptist Convention endorsed a woman’s right to abortion prior to the building of the “religious right.”

    The religious right will milk the issue for all it’s worth, because if someday they succeed in making all abortions illegal they’ll need a new hot button. But, once again, the true believer may have slipped heir leashes.

  3. “even the Southern Baptist Convention endorsed a woman’s right to abortion prior to the building of the “religious right.””

    Could someone please mention that to the Southern Baptists?

  4. The war on women is an outlet for people who think they are really opposed to murder, but love their guns.

    Since so many of us refuse to fight real wars how else can they express all that hate?

  5. Red meat seems to be the menu choice of the day for Republican candidates, but there is plenty to go around on their buffet line of hatred, bigotry, self-righteousness, ignorance, and xenophobia. The ReTeaVangeliKlan is eating high on the hog, as we say here down South. The Bernie rally I went to at the invitation of former students showed the difference. It was all about policy to improve the country to the benefit of everyone. When Bernie got tough on the elite, he was talking about the bank-sters and corporate thieves rather than the college-educated. Expanding opportunities instead of restricting people into 1955 WASP delusions is evidently the choice.

  6. Pry this hysteria down to its root, and you’ll find fear and loathing of female sexuality.

    Pry it even further, and it’s fear and disgust at male emasculation. And so we must have more control over women, more military, more testosterone…

  7. I think my Driver’s License identifies me as an organ donor. That is to say.. society can ‘harvest’ my organs to save a life or restore sight or.. whatever. And when all is said and done, someone will have made a profit from my dead body.. and maybe some good will come of it. If I quit the status of organ donor, I may deny a profit to someone I dislike – and it’s certain no good will come from my passing.

    It my be picking at nits, but PP has an obligation to get permission from the donor – which is the mother, because a fetus is not a person. It is the contract is between her and PP. The religious kooks have no ‘standing’ in the case.

    This is becoming a recurring theme in the battle between conservatives and liberals. The party that claims to oppose government intervention in private matters is demanding the right to deny the rights of two people f the same sex to enter into a contract. And they want to deny the right of a woman to do a tissue donation when she is the only person with any claim on that tissue.

  8. As usual, I have a different view on this subject. I have chosen not to be an organ donor simply because I view it as ghoulish. And I have been subjected to presentations by people who promoted organ donation. It simply gives me the creeps. Besides my organs will be worn out when I go and of no use to anybody. That may be illogical thinking but that is how I feel. Also, anytime anyone goes to a hospital and has a procedure done, surgery, childbirth, etc., they relinquish any right to what happens to any excess tissue. Placentas have long been donated ( or sold) for their wealth of hormones and who knows what else. Mothers have never been asked if it’s okay and actually most likely have never been aware of the practice. What difference does it make if it’s done by a hospital or some clinic? If someone donates an organ while alive (example, kidney) they have no right to remuneration but someone benefits from the “sale” of that. IMHO, it’s a corrupt way of doing things.
    Yes, I have heard all the emotional pleas from someone whose life or a family member’s life was saved. Of course, nobody wants to lose their life or the life of a loved one but that is the nature of things. Nobody gets out of this world alive and we all want a perfect world where we are born, grow up, get married, have children and live to a ripe old age and die in our sleep. However, those dreams or plans get interrupted and we have to deal with reality. It’s not easy and leads to thoughts of what are we doing on this earth. What is the purpose of life? And getting right down to it, what is life?

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