Republicans have made it clear that defunding Planned Parenthood is their number one priority, above any sort of educational, economic or environmental plan. It’s been announced that it’s now the 2012 “litmus test” for any Republican candidate, a step up from when you just had to state you were anti-abortion in order to pass muster. Just as after decades of use, the Hyde Amendment — which bans federal dollars from being used on abortions — is no longer good enough, and Republicans pushed for a “super Hyde” in H.R. 3 that would eliminate any exceptions, any need to renew it, and add extra conscience clause protection, “pro-life” is no longer good enough, now you have to be anti-abortion in all cases including rape, incest, health of mother, and even anti-contraception.
Indiana’s plan to cut off not only their own support of Planned Parenthood, but also all federal support for any Planned Parenthood that operates in their state, has met with opposition from the administration, who has declared that if a provider is qualified, the state cannot discriminate against it. Now, 28 Republican senators have thrown their weight in support of the state’s decision, complaining that the federal government is overstepping its bounds by telling states how to spend federal funds. Calling it a “significant departure from Medicaid’s longstanding practice of having the states – not the federal government – set reasonable standards for qualified providers,” the senators argue that the administration is pushing its own ideological view. Yet the Republicans seem to have no answer for how “we don’t like what else this provider does” passes as a “reasonable standard” rather than outright discrimination.
The senators point to the Indiana ban as “an important model for every state,” and no state has taken it as much to heart as the state of Tennessee. By passing their own Planned Parenthood ban, the state has now left so many women without access to free reproductive health care and family planning that private donors have had to step in to pick up the slack. If the state doesn’t reverse its ban, the local Planned Parenthood affiliates state that they will soon have to begin charging women for their services. Meanwhile, Republicans have given the nearly $1 million in funding that generally goes to Planned Parenthood to the Public Health entities, who have already declared they don’t have the capacity to deal with the new patients this would force them to take on.
Which is, of course, why the money was going to Planned Parenthood in the first place.
When STI rates, pregnancies and abortions increase, we know Republicans will refuse to see the consequences of their plans, since they firmly believe that those are all “punishments” for having sex for reasons other than procreation, or at least want to appeal to those have that mindset. But will the voters at least hold the politicians responsible, and will it already be too late?