Escalating tensions between establishment Republicans and members of the Tea Party over Planned Parenthood has pushed the GOP into chaos and the government to the brink of another shutdown, with Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner announcing his resignation last Friday.
The consensus is that Boehner decided to leave before he was pushed out, in large part because of his refusal to force a bill through Congress to President Barack Obama’s desk that would defund Planned Parenthood, a bill the POTUS has already said he would veto.
In an overwrought bit of political theater that was quickly shut down by the Senate, the House of Representatives voted Sept. 18 to halt federal funding to the organization while investigating false claims put forth by Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina that it illegally profited from the harvesting of fetal organs obtained through termination procedures.
It has been repeatedly reported that only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion procedures, but that doesn’t stop conservatives in both parties from attacking the organization’s facilities as “abortion mills” whose existence depends upon the “butchering” of unborn children—a highly inflammatory and inaccurate description of pregnancy termination. The organization primarily provides pregnancy tests, Pap smears, HIV screening and breast exams for women (and applicable services for men) who would otherwise not be able to afford these potentially lifesaving measures, but GOP leaders like Fiorina purposely leave that out because it doesn’t fit their narrative.
It has long been established that the federal government is barred from allocating Title X funds for elective abortions, a fact that is cemented a little more firmly each year with the continued extension of the Hyde Amendment. Still, the GOP counts on low-information voters to swallow whatever manure it shovels down their throats in its pathetic attempt to wage ideological warfare with the Democratic Party at the expense of women and communities of color across the country.
Let’s be clear: If cisgender white men were able to become pregnant, the legality and accessibility of abortion wouldn’t even be a conversation at a cocktail party, let alone a national debate driving the government to collapse. This entire political spectacle is steeped in religiosity, respectability politics, racism and misogyny and is a prime example of why intersectional social-justice movements are so imperative.
The Grand Old Party accuses Planned Parenthood of genocide, particularly in the African-American community—yes, you, Ben Carson—while fighting to eliminate or reduce every single public policy that financially assists marginalized and disadvantaged citizens of color in this country.
Do you see that hypocrisy? Let’s cut welfare and health care for communities of color, but save their fetuses. Let’s focus more on prison creation than equitable job creation, then vilify and shame women, particularly of color, who choose abortion because they refuse to raise children in poverty. Let’s continually evoke the name of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and the lie that she was out to “exterminate” the black population, while screaming out bloodthirsty support for the death penalty, which disproportionately leads to the execution of black people.
They don’t want us to question why conservative states in the Deep South with the most restricted access to abortions, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, often have the highest (for-profit) prison populations. Instead, we’re supposed to follow a party of convenient Christians wrapped in their false sense of moral superiority as they tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. We’re supposed to ignore how they ignore the plight of underprivileged children already here, including children of color trapped in a dehumanizing foster-care system who are too often left homeless when they age out of that system.
As far back as 1966, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood, called family planning a “special and urgent concern” for black families living in cyclical poverty in the United States, a critical issue that the country had the resources to address. Yet here we are, almost 50 years later, with Republicans—armed with cherry-picked religious conjecture and a capitalist agenda—moving to defund an organization that addresses that critical issue, apparently governing by the creed that support of life begins at conception and ends at birth.