Multiple methods of contraception inside a supply closet at a Planned Parenthood clinic of Southern New England in New Haven, Conn., February 7, 2011. (Photo: Christopher Capozziello / The New York Times)
Friday, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Pence Amendment, eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.
Since the first day they took office in January, the GOP and Tea Party majority in Congress have been focused like a lazer beam on one thing: eliminating access for women and in fact all people to have affordable health care, and particularly to reproductive and sexual health care. The main target of this effort in terms of rhetoric has been Planned Parenthood Federation of America, but in truth this is a war waged on all of us, and particularly on low-income women and children, many of whom depend on publicly funded clinics for primary preventive care.
The vote in favor of the Pence Amendment was 240-185 with at least 10 Democrats voting for the amendment, and seven Republicans voting against it. The final roll call vote was not available at the time of this writing, but among the Democrats who voted to defund PPFA were Congressmen Dan Boren (OK), Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Jerry Costello (Illinois), Dan Lipinski (Illinois), Mike McIntyre (North Carolina), Collin Peterson (Minnesota), Nick Rahall (West Virginia), Silvestre Reyes (Texas), Mike Ross (Arkansas), and Heath Shuler (North Carolina). See anything in common? Yep. They're all men. And many of them also remain cosponsors on bills that seeks to further decimate your rights.
See our series by Sarah Jaffe on the #HR3 Ten, the anti-choice Democrats who are voting to take away your health care.
Each one of these men apparently bought into and perpetuated the charade that this was a discussion about federal funding of abortion. Which it was not. It was about eliminating federal funds that pay for cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings, for testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and for many primary preventive care services to which, without Planned Parenthood, millions of people will not have access.
The next step on this is the Senate and do not be complacent because there are NO guarantees that the Senate will in fact stick up for women's health and rights. Senator Harry Reid is anti-choice, and as I write the White House is deep in negotiations to get yet another anti-choice Democrat, Tim Kaine, to run for the Senate in Virginia. Moreover, Obama gave it all away in health reform.
So now, we have one choice, and that is to take action. As Cecile Richards says in the video below, it is time, right now to act.