The U.S. House of Representatives announced its intention to violate the inalienable rights of American citizens Friday, when it voted to deny millions of women access to affordable reproductive health care.
The House passed a bill to freeze all federal funding for Planned Parenthood Sept. 18. According to the bill text, the plan would withhold funding from the non-profit and their affiliates for one year unless they agree to stop providing abortions during that period.
The bill is nothing short of extortion, trading federal funds for a woman’s right to choose and continuing the Republican onslaught against a right that was guaranteed to women 40 years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The House vote came in the wake of the release of a series of heavily edited videos by a pro-life group, which paints Planned Parenthood as a profit-hungry, morally bankrupt organization.
As Republicans hide their intentions behind the smokescreen of the videos, their history of attempts to defund Planned Parenthood suggests that they have other motives. Mother Jones compiled a timeline of Republicans moves against the non-profit over the last 35 years, and it demonstrates a continuous, calculated persecution of the organization.
Whatever they declare their goals to be, their actions would ultimately deny low-income people the only form of reproductive health care accessible to them.
And women aren’t the only ones affected. Planned Parenthood also provides men with STD tests; colon, prostate and testicular cancer screenings; sexual orientation counseling and access to male birth control.
The cut in federal funding would save $450 million annually in money going directly to Planned Parenthood, but most of that savings comes from Medicaid reimbursements that would be reabsorbed elsewhere by the system. Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that because of that and additional costs incurred to Medicaid from the thousands of additional pregnancies per year, the total savings to the federal government would be a measly $235 million over the next 10 years.
But it’s not about the money or political agendas. It’s about the lives of the millions of Americans who will lose access to one of the only reputable and affordable reproductive care services available to them in this country and the incalculable toll that thousands of unwanted pregnancies will take on their personal and professional lives.
It’s unacceptable that an ultimatum now stands between a woman and her right to affordable health care.