With midterms madness, Bwog sometimes forgets it’s a national citizen. A few months ago we tried to sort through the lame duck congress that soared, and now we’re back covering the craziness on Capitol Hill. Bwog probs shouldn’t be your go-to source for national news, but things are happening in the world outside of Morningside Heights! Over the past two weeks, the House has erupted in debate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood, America’s largest sexual and reproductive healthcare provider. Planned Parenthood receives funds under Title X, a federal grant program dedicated to providing family planning and preventative care services, particularly for low-income women. We offer a very brief summary of the controversy.
- On February 1, a group called Live Action (a self-described “youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion” according to their website bio) posted video of an undercover operation in a New Jersey Planned Parenthood. The video features a man posing as a pimp, asking the manager for advice about STD testing, abortions, and contraception on behalf of his prostitutes. The manager appears to give advice freely. He was subsequently fired.
- The same operation was repeated at other centers. In the other cases, those who spoke to the “pimp” reported him to their superiors.
- Obama has defended Planned Parenthood, despite the negative reaction to the undercover video.
- Just over two weeks later, on February 18, the House approved Republican Rep. Mike Pence‘s amendment on a budget bill to completely strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood under Title X. The federal family planning program for low-income women offers birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other reproductive health services. By law, no Title X funds—no federal money— can be spent on abortions.
- The 240-185 vote to defund Planned Parenthood, mostly split on party lines, ignited fierce debate between liberals and conservatives.
From a New York Times editorial and “most-emailed” story for about a week, “The War on Women:”
Republicans in the House of Representatives are mounting an assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies in struggling families. And this is just the beginning.
From Republican Rep. Mike Pence’s editorial:
I believe that ending an innocent human life is morally wrong. I also believe 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 abortions, like Planned Parenthood of America.