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The Republicans’ War On Women

The Republicans’ War On Women

The entire federal government might shut down over birth control. Yes, birth control. This article is about the ongoing war against women being waged in Congress and in state legislatures nationwide.

Cutting birth control

Last Friday, the House voted to amend the continuing resolution to fund the federal government to defund the $317 million Title X Family Planning Program, a major beneficiary of which is Planned Parenthood. None of this money funds abortions. Instead, it goes to birth control, cancer screenings, and other reproductive health services for 5 million low-income Americans.

This kind of preventive care is highly cost-effective. Every federal family planning dollar saves an estimated $4 tax dollars on unintended pregnancy costs alone. Saving money by de-funding contraception is like “saving money” by not paying your rent. It’s not savings if you end up staying in a hotel that costs even more.

As Nick Baumann reports for Mother Jones, Senate Democrats are confident that they can defeat the measure. However, if that happens and the House Republicans won’t pass an acceptable alternative, the federal government will run out of money and shut down until the impasse is resolved.

Julianne Hing, blogging at TAPPED, wrote of last Friday’s House vote to de-fund Planned Parenthood:

I find it difficult to summon the energy to be angered or even shocked by the news anymore. I wouldn’t describe my reaction on Friday as either of those two. It felt like something much deeper- like an attack on women and women’s access to health care. I took it personally.

The vote was just the latest assault on women’s health care by House Republicans. H.R. 3 initially proposed to redefine rape as “forcible rape.” That provision was withdrawn amid public outcry, but the bill would still effectively eliminate private health insurance coverage for abortion. H.R. 358 would give hospitals a loophole to not refer women for abortion, even if their lives are in danger.

The miscarriage mafia

Georgia state Rep. Bobbie Franklin (R) has introduced a bill that would investigate unsupervised miscarriages as potential murders, Robin Marty reports for Care2.

Here’s the relevant text of the bill, H.B.1:

When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the “Georgia Death Investigation Act,” the proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare and file the report within 30 days[.]

The bill opens with the familiar anti-choice tactic of defining a fetus as a person and declaring abortion to be murder. Even fervent anti-choicers may regard this as something of an overreach on Franklin’s part. Historically, anti-choicers have sought to pass discrete “personhood amendments” while maintaining the polite fiction that these laws have nothing to do with restricting abortion. Franklin is not a fan of the incremental approach. He is seeking to redefine a fetus as a person and abortion as murder in a single piece of legislation.

As Marty notes, one third of all pregnancies end in miscarriages. In early miscarriages, the woman may never even know she was pregnant. So, Franklin essentially wants to criminalize unauthorized vaginal bleeding in Georgia. Setting aside the basic human rights of women, as Franklin is only too happy to do, his miscarriage bill is about as practical as his bid to make Georgians pay their state taxes in gold and silver coins.

State legislatures all over the country are weighing ever more draconian restrictions on abortion. Republican lawmakers in Ohio have proposed legislation to ban abortion of any fetus with a heartbeat, Daniel Tencer of Raw Story reports. South Dakota Republicans were forced to back off a proposed law that appeared to legalize the murder of abortion providers.

Scott Walker’s anti-abortion crusade

You probably know Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the Tea Party favorite who wants to take collective bargaining rights away from the state’s public employees. You may not know that Walker is also a longtime anti-abortion crusader. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that Walker, a former president of his college’s chapter of Students for Life, has a long history of campaigning against abortion, contraception, and sex ed. As a gubernatorial candidate, Walker won the endorsement of the hardline Pro-Life Wisconsin, which even opposes abortion to save the life of the woman.

Walker’s anti-union “budget repair” bill also contains an all-out attack on a popular and successful Medicaid program to provide birth control to Wisconsinites whose incomes would qualify them for Medicaid if they became pregnant. The program saves Wisconsin an estimated $45 million a year in maternal and infant health costs alone and brings in 9 federal dollars for every on dollar spent by the state.

The Republicans swept to power with promises of limited government and fiscal conservatism. Now that they’re in office, their true agenda appears to be restricting women’s freedom at taxpayers’ expense.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.


Tell Georgia Legislators: Don’t make miscarriage a capital crime.

Related Stories: 

Congresswoman Tells of Her Own Abortion During Title X Debate [Video]

Sen. Franken Stands Up For Planned Parenthood [Video]

House Budget Would Decimate Women’s Health Care in Cities and Rural Areas, Governors and Mayor say


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Photo by Meredith_Farmer
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

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81 comments

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7:17AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

Regarding Thelma D's comment on the British treatment of Abortion.....
Here are the facts:-
Sex Education begins in Primary school through to High School.
There are many FREE Agencies available for all girls and wome of all ages.
The NHS provides Total Health Education and totalHealth Care for ALL..........

FREE AT THE POINT OF DELIVERY
AND HAS DONE SO SINCE 1948;

12:42PM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

Natalie's right on. We don't want to be considered chattel anymore, among other nasty things the Republicons (sp'd incorrectly intentionally) have planned for all women, most middle-class and all of the poor.

11:59AM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

It is interesting that "small government" Republicans support big and intrusive government when it comes to women's bodies. I agree with Lionel G. There is a masculine fear of female sexuality; dating back to the earliest agricultural societies which wanted proof that females and their progeny belonged to the male provider. This, I believe, paralleled the belief in male monotheism. Women must unite behind the power of the vote or they will be the biggest losers in the overall weakening of our democratic principles.

11:30PM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

Women vote, so we can effectively stop the Republicans' war on women by stripping them of their command.

5:37AM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

I keep getting this sense--and I hope I'm wrong--that huge numbers of American men, and a disturbingly large number of women, hate any woman who is sexual in any visible way, especially anything indicating that she enjoys sex, and that's what I suspect is really behind the whole so-called pro-life movement.

7:13AM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Oh Please!

10:19AM PST on Mar 2, 2011

Lets see, the GOP wants a smaller government and less interference by the government (despite the fact they LOVE interference by big business helping them legislate with their money). That being said.. Less government in all areas except women's health by inserting themselves into the doctor's office for women's issues only. Makes sense right?

6:50AM PST on Mar 1, 2011

I hope you will send boehners email www.johnboehner.com to your friends and urge them to do the same. It seems the GOP has put it's agenda before nation's business and welfare..The Koch Brothers, big banks and other large corporations own him and the other GOP leaders.

3:00PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

With the right wing Republican and Tea Party movements, we are headed for disasters if the progressive movement doesn't get moving. I am truly happy to see Wisconsin responding to governor Walker and his union busting ways. Truly America is being besieged by those who will create a repressionary consciouseness. I really think this is the once independent religious right that under the leadership of the televangelists who gained power during the Bush years. Truly, there was a time when there was less partisanship between Republicans and Democrats, but certainly, the Republicans have taken the religious right as their agenda. They have based all their morality issues toward narrow concepts of how their God have defined their way of handling issues pertaining to women's rights. We all know the problems with that! I would no sooner allow the likes of Phyllis Shlafly, nor members of the Tea Party set the agenda on women's rights. We would only go back into the Dark Ages.

7:00AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Geez, isn't it enough that guys get viagra on their insurance? Isn't that the MOST important thing? Their issues?
Individuals need to contact John Boehner and express your distress at the way the GOP is heading. Instead of Jobs they are attacking women's health issues, the unions and protecting the wealthy. Write your grievances to AskTheLeader@mail.house.gov
Please spread this email address to your friends, ask them to write a polite but pointed letter to this guy. He won't care but he won't like emails pointing out the stupidity of their stance on everything and failure to act like responsible citizens and public employees. (we do pay their big fat wages, cadillac healthcare and bloated pensions)

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