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Tuesday, April 06, 2010


by digby

Via Dante Atkins at DKos, I see that the GOPs war on women continues apace. Here's the Minority Leader's latest statement:

Remember when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said last month “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it?” Tucked away inside President Obama’s new health care law is a controversial provision dramatically expanding taxpayer funding of contraceptives and the abortion industry. Washington Democrats actually tried to insert this legislative language in the original trillion-dollar ‘stimulus,’ but were forced to remove it under pressure from Republicans and the American people. No matter: Democrats just hid it in their government takeover of health care instead. After all, no liberal special interest giveaway could be spared in order to force this job-killing monstrosity through Congress over the objection of the American people.

Specifically, all states are now free to offer Medicaid “family planning” services – even for those who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid – without receiving approval from the federal government. This will pave the way for more taxpayer dollars to go to clinics that undercut parents and promote abortions. Inside Health Policy has the details:

"Tucked into the health reform legislation is a controversial provision allowing states to expand coverage for family planning services under Medicaid without a waiver from the federal government. Democrats had tried to insert the language into the Recovery Act in January 2009, but pulled back after it became a lightning rod for GOP attacks ... Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) championed the provision in the Senate, adding it to the Senate Finance Committee version of the legislation during mark-up, sources said, and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) pushed for it in the House. ... ‘How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?’ House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said of the provision, according to Reuters.”

Boehner is such a slimy little worm. The original brouhaha was about the fact that family planning didn't "create jobs" which was the intent of the stimulus package. It became a big joke ("hehehe, he said stimulate...") and so the Democrats removed it from the bill to shut up the stupid Republicans.

Now they're implying that it was removed because of moral objections on the part of "America" which doesn't want the government paying for birth control and "the abortion industry," which I'm assuming is Planned Parenthood. (That was, of course, ridiculous because contraceptives are a product like anything else which requires humans to manufacture and distribute them.)

Boehner concludes:

Now we learn that Washington Democrats’ government takeover of health care dramatically expands taxpayer funding of contraceptives and the abortion industry. First Democrats removed this controversial provision from the ‘stimulus’ and then they hid it in their government takeover of health care, hoping the American people wouldn’t notice.

If anyone ever wondered whether the right is sincere in its concern for fetuses as opposed to the sexual behavior of women, this would seem to spell it out pretty clearly. Boehner is calling provisions for birth control "controversial" and the only thing he can mean by this in this context is that he thinks Americans believe women shouldn't have sex if they don't want to bear children. ("Just keep your legs closed, girl, and you won't have a problem.")Otherwise, it would be "uncontroversial" that a health care bill would provide for family planning and those who care about preventing abortion would be supportive since it would result in fewer unplanned pregnancies. (But then we know that isn't what the religion industrial complex is all about, don't we?)

It is only a matter of time before we start hearing about a new conscience clause for people who don't believe in paying for other people's contraception.

Dante says it well:

There are two major sources of concern here. First, the fact that Leader Boehner is attacking birth control funding just goes to show that the forced birth cult wing of the Republican Party isn't really interested in snowflake babies. After all, it would stand to reason that making contraception readily available would make a significant dent in the number of unplanned pregnancies. Rather, they are far more concerned with making sure that women--especially poor women--suffer consequences for daring to have sex unless they make sure to do it with a strong, powerful man who they know can provide for them--in other words, the medieval model of gender relations.

But even more alarming is the fact that Boehner and the GOP are now so bold as to think that attacking the pill is a sound political idea. Either Boehner and the GOP are just that out of touch with political reality, or we will have a fierce battle ahead to protect the freedoms we all take for granted.

They're moving the goalposts, as they always do. And if history is any guide, the Democrats will give in over time. There's going to be a battle, but I doubt it will be waged by the Democratic party.

Here's one way to make sure they are at least passive allies and cease using women's rights as a negotiating chip: donate a couple of bucks to Connie Saltonstall's campaign against Bart Stupak, the "pro-life" Democrat who almost took down the health care bill and enabled the right wing to degrade women's reproductive rights yet again. I see no hope of changing this until the Party establishment understands that women's rights are human rights, as embedded in our values as civil rights for racial minorities.