The 2010 conservative tidal wave has thrust the nation into an open era of anti-choice zealotry. Nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills are advancing through GOP-led state houses nationwide — their absurdity matched only by the House GOP’s No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion bill which will be voted on later today. At the epicenter of this anti-choice maelstrom is Planned Parenthood, a women’s health organization that provides vital services like STD tests and treatment, cancer screenings, and contraception to low-income women. Only 3 percent of their work is abortion services and, per federal law, no public funds go towards that service.
But the mere idea of abortions has been enough to spur an all out campaign to gut the organization by any means necessary. Indeed, picking up where the House GOP left off, Indiana is set to become the first state to defund Planned Parenthood with Kansas and several other states not too far behind. But, in their crusade to eviscerate Planned Parenthood, states like Indiana, Texas, and Oklahoma are willing to accept a great number of low-income women and children as collateral damage:
INDIANA: Of the 28 Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana, only four even offer abortion services. But Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) is committed to denying all 28 clinics the $2 million in Medicaid funds they normally receive — a move that will gut the STD testing and treatment, cancer screening and prevention, and contraception services provided to at least 9,300 low-income women in the state. What’s more, because it is illegal for any state to deny payment to health care clinics that provide “a constitutionally protected service,” the state would be penalized with sanctions that could cost all family-planning or women’s health-care providers $4 million in Medicaid funding, leaving thousands more low-income women bereft of vital services.
TEXAS: Texas GOP state senators put a “poison pill” into a women’s health program designed to ensure that “groups like Planned Parenthood do not receive state funding.” The Demonstration Project for Women’s Health Care Services is designed to help poor, uninsured women receive health care including family planning services. While 90 percent of the program is federally funded and Texas (and federal) law already forbids any state money from being spent on abortions. The poison pill makes it so the entire Demonstration Project program “is shut down if an abortion [provider] files and wins a lawsuit against the provision preventing funding.” Thus, should a health clinic file a lawsuit and win, as it has in the past, the entire program that serves 40,000 Texas women will be eliminated.
OKLAHOMA: So “disturbed” is Oklahoma state Rep. Jason Murphey (R) by Planned Parenthood’s abortion referral services, he is planning legislation that would make nutrition vouchers inaccessible to thousands of low-income mothers. The federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program provides federal grants for food vouchers, regular check-ups, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women and mothers of young children. Oklahoma distributes these funds through 9 independent contractors, including Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Because Murphey’s plan would prohibit any independent contractor from passing out vouchers, the Huffington Post reports that it would severely jeopardize over 9,300 low-income Oklahoman women’s ability to afford nutritional food for their children.
Not to be outdone by the states, it appears some House Republicans are willing to take the entire economy hostage by linking their draconian H.R. 3 measure to the debt ceiling increase. “What we use the debt limit to leverage is really up to the leaders, [but] I would think this would be one of the bills that we could be asking for,” said ardent anti-choice Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA).