The House GOP has made no bone about its plans to severely restrict access to abortion—first by attempting to redefine rape and then by crafting a proposal that would allow doctors to deny abortion services even when the life of the woman is in danger. And as my colleague Nick Baumann reported this week, Republican lawmakers also want to zero out funds for Planned Parenthood—and, while they’re at it, axe all government funds for family planning, health screenings, and services for low-income women.
My friend Lisa Hymas at Grist, who has been doing great writing on the nexus of reproductive rights and the environment, writes today about why the elimination of the Title X family-planning program has serious consequences. In 2008, 5 million women (and men too) made use of the services at 4,500 community-based clinics. And if you care about both population and women’s rights, you should be worried about the larger narrative here, she writes:
Some progressives are calling the jab at Title X “hypocrisy.” But in fact what the Republicans are doing is perfectly consistent with the ultra-conservative agenda of denying women agency and sexual freedom. In just the last month, we’ve seen newly empowered House Republicans try to redefine rape, push to outlaw the use of federal funds for abortion, and gleefully join in attacks on Planned Parenthood. It’s not scattershot; it’s strategic.
Of course, there are plenty of other things to worry about in the GOP spending plan as well—like massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, for starters. When it comes down to deciding what programs to fight for in order to prevent a government shut-down, Title X may not be at the top of the list. And Republicans had to take their spending plan back to the chopping block yesterday after tea party members protested that they weren’t deep enough—they wanted to see another $26 billion trimmed. They’re planning to release the revised list of cuts later today, and you can probably guess the kind of programs they’ll add to it.