How vicious and widespread is the Republican attack on poor women? It just about shut down the federal government. And it still might.
The deal struck was at the greatest price to women, in particular to poor women. While Democrats defeated Republican attacks at funding for women’s health care and organizations like Planned Parenthood, they capitulated to banning the District of Columbia from using federal and local taxpayer dollars on abortions.
The budget also contains a rider that guarantees that the Senate will vote on a stand alone bill to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. While the measure may not make it through the Senate, the fact that it’s happening shows that using women as political hostages is standard operating procedure for both Republicans and Democrats.
If it wasn’t clear before the budget battle it should be now. This was never about Planned Parenthood per se. It was about who Republicans feel is “entitled” to the help and support of the federal government. NASCAR subsidies are fine, but not cancer screenings for poor women.
If this looks familiar, it should. It’s the resurrection of the mean-spirited and frankly racist element of the right that embraces images of “welfare queens” and stereotypes of government dependents. While supporters try to soften their image by invoking abolitionists or hiding behind the cloak of “fiscal conservatism” their ideology and agenda has not changed since first introduced by Barry Goldwater and mainstreamed by Ronald Reagan.
There’s so much to be angry about with this deal it’s hard to chose one or two points to focus on, but here it goes. The capitulation on D.C. funding is pretty offensive provisions since it impacts those with literally zero representation in Congress.
And while I’m grateful for the short-term salvage on Planned Parenthood funding I would be more grateful to have both moderate Republicans and all Democrats end politicking with women’s lives. Period. Sure Harry Reid came out and gave some strong words of support to women’s health care but still used it as a negotiating chip and at the end decided the greatest burden should be born by those most vulnerable.
I expect it from Republicans but I’m really tired of it from the Democrats.
For more on the budget battle, click here.
photo courtesy of liber via Flickr