The war on women's health continues: The country is on the brink of a government shutdown because the Republicans don't want to continue $317 million in funding to Planned Parenthood. Even though more than 90% of Planned Parenthood's health care is preventive (each year, it gives nearly one million screenings for cervical cancer, 830,000 breast exams, affordable birth control to nearly 2.5 million patients, and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV testing), the GOP is hung up on the fact that Planned Parenthood offers abortion—though none of its federal funding goes towards abortion.
Senator John Kyl (R-Arizona) grandstanded, "If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. So this is a red herring to say that somehow the government's going to be shut down over the fact that Planned Parenthood won't get a $300 million gift from the taxpayers of America." Hmm, $317 million to help women—especially in rural areas—with family planning. In the meantime, defense spending will still be nearly $700 billion and GE's got $3+ billion gift of tax benefits—suck it, ladies!
Planned Parenthood of America president Cecile Richards issued a statement decrying the Republicans' attempts to cut funding. Here's some of it (read the whole thing here):
This policy of attempting to undermine Planned Parenthood, the organization in the United States that does more than any other to encourage the use of contraception for those wanting to avoid pregnancy, certainly guarantees an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies. It is difficult to understand why people who say they are opposed to abortion would do so much to undermine the family planning and contraception that helps prevent the need for it.
To be clear, the amendment to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding does nothing to reduce the deficit and it does nothing to improve the economy. In fact, health professionals will actually lose their jobs as a result, and, most egregiously, it takes health care away from American women who cannot afford to pay for it on their own.
Planned Parenthood is a community-based provider of life-saving primary and preventive health care. For many Americans, our doctors and nurses are the only health care providers they see.
Most importantly, those who want to put Planned Parenthood out of business have not explained how the three million Americans currently served by Planned Parenthood's more than 800 health centers will get the health care they need if this dangerous provision becomes law.
As Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) put it this morning, "We are on the one-yard line [with a deal to avoid a shutdown], but Republicans in the House are making a goal-line stand on women's health."