Women’s rights supporters plan protest at Rep. Hunter’s office today at noon
February 24, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) –Republicans in the House pushed through a 240-185 vote to strip all Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, sparking outrage among health advocates and women’s rights supporters, who have organized multiple protest rallies in San Diego this week including a rally today outside Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office in El Cajon.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) introduced the amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funds. “It is morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund organizations that provide and promote abortion,” he said.
But Title X funds have never covered abortion care, so Pence’s statement is misleading, suggests Terry O’Nell, president of the National Organization for Women. Should the measure pass the Senate and become law, she said, “Millions of women, the vast majority of whom have incomes of less than $11,000 a year, will lose access to pap smears, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and contraception.” Calling the bill “dangerous and discriminatory,” she added, “There is little doubt that the WILL kill women.”
In a press statement issued yesterday, the NOW leader accused House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with conspiring with the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops to endanger women’s lives. She cited other pending Republican-backed bills as examples. HR 358 would encourage healthcare profivders ro refuse training, performance and even referrals for healthcare. “This bill gives our government `blessing’ to any emergency room that would let a pregnant woman die rather than perform an abortion procedure that could save her life,” she noted. Another bill, HR 3, would revoke abortion rights even for rape victims. HR 217 would permanently eliminate Title X family planning services as well as screenings for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Testimony on the House floor became emotional after Rep. Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey) described a procedure commonly used not only for abortion but when a woman miscarries. His speech prompted California representative Jackie Spier to speak, revealing that she had the procedure herself in the 17th week of pregnancy, after the fetus slipped from the womb into the vagina and her doctor advised the procedure to prevent infection as her pregnancy was failing.
“I lost a baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous,” Speier said.
San Diego Republicans Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray all voted in favor of eliminating Title X funds for birth control, cancer screenings and other non-abortion procedures for poor women. Local Democrats Susan Davis and Bob Filner voted against the measure.
The House vote was praised by the National Right to Life Council, whose president, Douglas Johnson, said, “Now Senators, too, will go on record on whether to push the snout of this bloated abortion mega-marketer, Planned Parenthood, out of the U.S. Treasury feeding trough.”
All abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood are legal under federal law, despite an inflammatory Internet video slamming the organization for providing abortion counseling to minor prostitutes.
Nobody in Congress is trying to fund abortions at Planned Parenthood, however, making the issue a red herring. Instead, the Republican agenda is to starved Planned Parenthood of funding, a move that no one disputes will also deny access to affordable birth control, cancer screenings, and other services for women who may not be able to afford them elsewhere.
Meanwhile at least one Republican in Congress has introduced a bill to fund birth control--for wild horses, not women: http://community.thenest.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/49393987.aspx
Planned Parenthood has posted an email petition on its website urging that the mesaure to defund family planning and health screenings for women be defeated: http://www.plannedparenthood.org.
Now local activists are fighting back as well. Yesterday, a rally was held outside the federal building in downtown San Diego to protect women’s reproductive rights.
Today at noon, a coalition of groups including MoveOn, Democracy for America, local Democratic clubs and women’s organizations are urging people opposed to the funding cuts to rally outside Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office at 1870 Cordell Street in El Cajon , suite 206.
If you wish to voice your views for or against this measure, you may contact Rep. Hunter’s El Cajon office at 619-448-5201 or his Washington D.C. office at 202-225-5672.
To reach other members of San Diego’s Congressional delegation in the House, click here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/0809soundoff