Everything you need to know about the GOP’s opposition to abortion can be gleaned from the reckless disregard for human life currently on display by the Republican-controlled Texas state legislature. The senate in that state has presented a budget that would alter the funding scheme for the joint federal and state Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program, which administers cancer screenings for uninsured women. Under the proposal, Planned Parenthood and other organizations that specialize in family planning would become “the lowest priority for funding.”
Planned Parenthood provides many vital and sometimes life-saving services for its clients, including cancer screenings, STD tests, pelvic exams, and pap tests, just to name a few. Some of its clinics also provide abortions, which comprise a scant 3% of the total services the organization provides. For the Republicans out there, that means 97% of the services Planned Parenthood provides aren’t abortions, no matter what gorilla data this guy pulled out of his ass.
Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson explained the “thinking” behind the change:
“There are many members that feel very strongly that the facilities that receive funding should not be facilities for performing abortions, so the answer is, don’t perform abortions and you get the money,” Nelson said Wednesday. “It’s a tiered system. We’re getting the money to those facilities that are delivering services and not performing abortions.”
I’m sure there are many Texans who “feel very strongly” that it shouldn’t matter whether or not a facility provides abortions so long as they provide cancer screenings, which to remind, is the entire point of the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program. But apparently, their opinion matters little here, even though the procedure in question is perfectly legal. As we’ve seen previously with Hyde amendment, which prohibits the allocation of certain federal funds to pay for abortions, there is a staggering sense of entitlement enjoyed by the anti-abortion crowd, which has succeeded in cordoning off not just abortion, but organizations that provide abortions, from state and federal funding. And this is to say nothing of religious exemptions carved out for employers who protest and cry “Religious freedom” at the thought of having to provide contraception coverage through their health care plans.
By knocking Planned Parenthood down to the second tier for state and federal funding of cancer screenings, the 10% of low-income Texas women who participate in the program may be forced to travel much greater distances in order to find facilities whose funding hasn’t been cut. This speaks to a broader disorder that afflicts the Republican mind: Fetal Derangement Syndrome, or FDS. This malady occurs when someone is so obsessed with protecting fetuses, that they are willing to jeopardize the well-being of actual people to do so.
FDS does have one silver lining: It gives the lie to the notion that being anti-abortion is all about being pro-life. The willingness to limit cancer screenings lest an organization that provides abortions in addition to cancer screenings receives state money reflects the sort demented thinking that prioritizes the well-being of fetuses over the well-being of women who rely on Planned Parenthood and similar clinics for cancer screenings.
Much if not the vast majority of the opposition to abortion is grounded in religious belief, which is to say it is patriarchal in nature. For most of Western history, women have been expected to practice modesty and chastity, with promiscuity being frowned upon or outright punished. The anti-abortion movement, first and foremost, is an exercise in slut-shaming. Women who become pregnant must be forced to carry the fruits of their lust to term, so goes the thinking; for if they are allowed to end their pregnancy, this would affirm their right to do with their bodies as they please.
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