A century ago, in 1916 to be precise, a woman named Margaret Sanger began, against popular opinion and social customs, distributing information on safe sex and preventing pregnancy.
This has evolved into an organization that, today, distributes birth control, provides ambulatory procedures, screenings, and a hoste of reproductive health services not just for women, but anyone who wants to have cheap or free healthcare.
You know them as Planned Parenthood.
Today is the vote on whether or not this organization, which has been chipped away at steadily over the past several years by anti-choicers, religious fundamentalists, and domestic extremists who would go so far as to kill doctors providing those services, would be defunded.
And this is also the issue over which the government is threatened to be shut down today.
Under a guise of supposed “budget” talks.
People, let’s finally step up and call a spade a spade. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said it best: women are under attack. Women’s rights are under attack. This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at restricting the rights of one-half of this country’s population. The budget allocation to Planned Parenthood is puny: a fraction of what’s allocated to the defense budget, and definitely a fraction over what has been given out in corporate bailouts. GE, and all the major banks and corporations in the US combined owe more in taxes than Planned Parenthood ever hopes to receive. To say that defunding Planned Parenthood would help with the current deficit is nothing short of a baldfaced lie.
This has been part of a very slow, careful, calculated effort to eradicate the idea that a woman is not only in control of her body but is able to have sex and enjoy it – without getting pregnant. The bills in South Dakota that were defeated by an ever-narrowing margin. The “redefinition of rape” clauses in HR3 are only evidence that the GOP views the women of this country as second-class. The number of state-level bills attempting to eliminate abortion altogether has been growing.
All under the guise of “budget” talks.
And guess who has been receiving the financial benefits all along: corporations. GE is claiming a tax credit. And I sure don’t remember hearing if any of the banks that received their corporate bailouts ever paying those bailouts back.
This is not about the money. It’s about women, it’s about control over women, and it’s about who gets the control.
Hint: per the Republicans/Tea Party, the ideal person to have that control would be rich white “Christian” males who get their money from corporate investments and kickbacks.
If you have a woman in your life, if you are a woman yourself, and if at any point in your life you or that woman required a Pap smear at little or no cost, without access to a private doctor, without the money to pay one, then you or she is a Planned Parenthood customer.
Only 3% of all Planned Parenthood centers provide abortions, and that number has been dwindling for years. Three percent. The other 97% focus on preventing unwanted pregnancy. Free screenings. Free blood tests. Cheap or free birth control. Referral for major surgery. Cancer screenings. Gardasil – you know, the cervical-cancer vaccine? Guess where you can find it. Yep, there.
You read this and think, “All of these things are GOOD. They help women in poor areas keep their health!” Yes, I know. But the Republicans don’t give a damn. They would rather a woman die of undiagnosed cancer than have her take charge over her own body. Because somehow, in their heads, it would save money. When it’s mathematically and logically not the case.
I say to you, my readers, that this course of events will not stand. The GOP’s ideologies end where a woman’s right to bodily autonomy begins. There is no exception, exemption, codicil, or amendment to that clause.
As the sole owner and proprietor of my body, I am the only person with the absolute right to dictate what I do with it. The same goes for every woman in this country.
So I issue this call to action: If you value the women in your life, if you value the women in this country, sign the Planned Parenthood Action Letter today.
Now. This instant. Immediately.
Save women’s lives. And once and for all, expose the extremists for the misogynistic, uneducated idiots that they are.