News coming from the GOP-controlled House these days may cause one to believe the source of all our budgetary woes is nonwealthy women who need family planning services. The housing bubble, absurd financial instruments and speculation or giant banker bonuses apparently have been forgotten about.
The latest? The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 217), sponsored by Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), would cut off all federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). The bill passed last week in the House mostly along party lines, 240 – 185. Representative Pence claimed this to be a victory for anti-abortion taxpayers, but Planned Parenthood does not receive any federal money to pay for abortion services; it’s been illegal to do so since 1974. In effect, this bill is a smack down on millions of uninsured women and men who use PPFA for not only family planning, but general services as well. Over ninety percent of the agency’s funds go to pay for reproductive system cancer screenings for men and women, all manner of check-ups, HIV tests and vaccinations for both men and women, birth control, testing and care for STD’s and STI’s, infertility screening, pre-natal care, and much more. Besides, the Hyde Amendment that is passed every year already precludes government funds from paying for abortions. This goes to show the bill could appropriately have been named the “Destroy Planned Parenthood Act.”
Overall twenty percent of women of reproductive age are uninsured. That’s over 13 million women. For those below the poverty line, forty percent have neither health insurance nor Medicaid. There is a huge number of women in this country who rely on PPFA to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, or plan their families if they can in fact afford to have children. In addition, Planned Parenthood serves over 600,000 Latinos every year in the U.S. and their partners in Latin America serve over 1.2 million annually. Removing money from this agency is not a victory for anyone. It is in fact another battle in the war on women.
What can we do?
1. Sign Planned Parenthood’s petition.
2. Contact our senators to demand they do not pass the Pence Amendment.
3. Attend the Chicago Walk for Choice this Saturday at noon.
4. Follow Planned Parenthood Action Center on Twitter or Facebook to get the latest updates and information on events.
5. Follow Latinos for Planned Parenthood on Twitter.