Links in this episode:
MoveOn and the threat of back alley abortions
Jackie Speier speaks out
Barbara Lee spells it out
Cecile Richards speaks out
This week on Reality Cast: the war on contraception went to the next level, with the House of Representatives defunding Title X in the continuing resolution to fund the government. It isn’t law yet, but this is an attack on all family planning subsidies, but especially Planned Parenthood. Also, a strange story about a Chicago hospital stopping abortions comes out. Is this for real or more anti-choice myth-making? Dr. Anne Davis will be on to help us separate fact from fiction.
With all this attention being paid to Title X defunding, don’t forget that the House is also attacking women’s right to private funding for abortion. Move On dot org made a commercial featuring Lisa Edelstein who plays Dr. Lisa Cuddy on House.
- moveon *
The visuals are great, featuring Edelstein in a dress from the 50s, and of course, a scary shot of a wire hanger. Considering the recent revelation that a bona fide back alley abortionist was mutilating women in Philadelphia who often couldn’t afford decent care, I would say that the days of the back alley abortion are actually on us.
As mentioned previously, the Republicans and a handful of Democrats in the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood as part of the continuing resolution that would fund the government in the absence of a budget. The decision to do so was because of an amendment brought forward by Mike Pence, who dropped the a-word frequently in defense of stripping all Title X funding from the bill.
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Except, of course, no Title X funds go to abortion. On the contrary, Planned Parenthood uses Title X funds mostly in the service of preventing abortion, which is to say they apply those funds to the 97% of the work they do that isn’t abortion. And much of it is contraception. If you don’t like abortion, you should be writing Planned Parenthood checks, because the more women who have access to contraception, the fewer abortions there are. This works in much the same way that the more people who eat right and exercise are out there, the fewer heart attacks there are. On the other hand, if you’re a misogynist sex-phobe who wants to punish women for having sex, then you would support this defunding of Title X. This is a pretty stark dividing line here, since defunding will likely increase the abortion rate, and thus the only reason---the only reason---to support it is because you’re anti-woman and anti-sex, not “pro-life”.
Sadly, “abortion” is such a beloved word by those trying to conceal their anti-sex agenda, that even though abortion literally had nothing to do with this, it ended up dominating the debate. Still, I think within those unfortunate parameters, Democratic congresswomen who spoke did a bang-up job of denouncing the racism and misogyny of the anti-choicers pushing for this. The video that got the most play was Jackie Speier of California, who was so upset by Chris Smith’s flagrant misogyny in describing women who have abortions, she just had to speak.
- planned 2 *
Chris Smith is a big believer in abortion parties, i.e. that women get abortions for the funsies. You know, ‘cuz getting your uterus scraped is way more fun than say, getting 5 separate massages or buying half a new wardrobe, which are other things you could do with that money. That or he’s actually just anti-sex, and uses abortion as a cover to attack contraception and reproductive health services in general. But in doing so, as Speier notes, he reveals his misogyny by portraying abortion as a cavalier lark.
Speier got the most attention, but I really was fond also of Gwen Moore, who was offended, rightly so, at a bunch of old white men pretending that they’re trying to stop a genocide of black babies when in fact they’re trying to make the lives of black women harder. And in doing so, by the way, hurting their children, who need their mothers to be healthy and able to get by.
- planned 3 *
Considering that there were other cuts that will take away from women and children, it’s clear that the supposed concern that anti-choicers have for black children is just a front. Actual concern for black children, all children, looks like what Gwen Moore is talking about. And it does start with giving women the tools to have children only when they’re ready.
Barbara Lee of California laid it out, as well.
- planned 4 *
I had to cut this short for time, but she actually goes on like this for awhile, and it’s stunning how expansive this bill is, and how many women the anti-choicers in Congress are putting under attack.
There’s so much good stuff here that I thought I’d go ahead and do a second segment after the interview, so stay tuned in.
The one thing that right wingers waging war on Title X funds can’t get around is that Title X funds are given for reproductive health services that are not only not abortion, but in fact prevent abortion. And while they use fetal life to demonize abortion, they know better than to admit in more mainstream channels that this is and always has been about attacking women for being sexual. So, the solution is to lie, and to pretend their war on contraception is about abortion. Laura Ingraham up and lied about Planned Parenthood on Fox News.
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In reality, only 3% of the services that Planned Parenthood gives each year are abortion. It is only 15% of their revenue, and that’s only because abortion is more expensive than a Pap smear or birth control pills, especially at Planned Parenthood. Which offers these things at minimum cost, because they’re a non-profit. Which points to the biggest lie of all, implicit in Ingraham’s argument. She’s implying that Planned Parenthood is a money-making enterprise, like Halliburton or something. In reality, it’s a non-profit that makes money solely to put it back into the community in the form of low cost health care.
It’s tough to fight back against these kind of lies, but many pro-choice congress critters did try during the debate over funding Title X. Here’s some more awesome speeches from that debate that dragged on for hours.
- planned 6 *
That was Louise Slaughter, who really talked up how awful it was for women in the days when accessing contraception wasn’t so easy. It’s actually still too hard, but Planned Parenthood does a bang-up job of trying to make it easier. It’s not just the low prices, but they also stay open late, work on weekends, and have the pills in the same office as exams to minimize trips you have to make.
I’ve only played the voices of female congress people, and that’s for two reasons. One, they spoke more on this issue, for the obvious reason. Two, I think it’s important to highlight how much this is a war on women, and how women are fighting back. But we have our male allies, of course! Jim McDermott also spoke in favor of funding Planned Parenthood.
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Planned Parenthood is really popular. I’ve been seeing all over the social networks people who don’t usually talk politics in their feed standing up for Planned Parenthood. Rallies are being organized and people are paying attention. I think anti-choicers really are overplaying their hand, revealing themselves as anti-contraception radicals.
Ann Friedman went on MSNBC to talk to Chris Hayes about all this, and kicked major ass, so I’m going to close this segment with her.
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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, we’re here to deprive the children for the children edition. The Frederick County, Maryland, Board of County Commissioners voted to slash funds dramatically for Head Start, and the reason offered by those voting for this was that women should just stay home with the kids anyway.
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Of course, not every mother is fortunate enough to be married to a man who makes enough money for her to stay home, and in fact, most mothers aren’t. I suppose if Kirby Delauter wants to argue you shouldn’t have kids unless you’re wealthy, he should explain why conservatives also want to cut all spending that allows women to avoid giving birth.