The 112th Congress' assault on abortion has been broadly and deeply covered on Daily Kos. We are all aware that the Republican-controlled House is determined to overturn a woman's right to choose, if not in one fell swoop, then by continuing to chip away at exisitng legislation.
The latest assault on reproductive rights, however, has taken a particulary incredulous turn. As early as this week, the House is scheduled to vote on the elimination of funding for Title X. For those of you who don't know about Title X, it is a federal program that provides funding for family planning services.
Got that? Family planning -- of all kinds. Not abortion necessarily but contraception, counseling and other family planning programs.
And there is more, of course.
Many of the clinics and facilities that provide family planning services also provide general and specialized gynecological and reproductive health services to women. Services like annual exams, pap smears, and testing for HIV. And as you would probably expect, many of the women who avail themselves of these services don't have health insurance, are economcially at the margins, and are members of communities that are painfully underserved. For many of these women, an annual visit to a facility participating in Title X is the only health exam, of any type, that they receive during the year.
So the push to eliminate this funding will affect not just abortion counseling and services, and not just family planning counseling and services. It will affect access to basic health services for woman.
The biggest and most respected provider of these serivces is Planned Parenthood. And last week, I received the following e-mail from them:
This week, anti-choice House leadership is forcing a vote on the most dangerous legislative assault on women's health in Planned Parenthood's 95-year history.
That's not an exaggeration, it is a simple fact — and if they succeed, the consequences for women will be catastrophic. We need everyone who cares about women's health to join together to oppose this attack on Planned Parenthood and those we serve. Tell your representative to vote NO.
Title X, our nation's family planning program, provides funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care. Anti-choice House leadership wants to completely eliminate this crucial funding — particularly for Planned Parenthood. That would cut off millions of women from care they have no other way to afford, leaving them at risk of sickness and death.
Click here to take action.
This attack on family planning funding is not an isolated incident. It's part of a coordinated campaign meant to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers and deny women access to basic health care.
We can't afford to let them get away with it. Speak out now — make it clear to Congress that the services that doctors, nurses, and other medical staff provide in Planned Parenthood health centers are too important to be turned into just another political issue. If we don't stand together now, these attacks will surely continue, and women everywhere will pay a terrible price.
The new House leadership campaigned on a promise to focus on jobs and the economy. Now that they're in power, they are instead focused on relentlessly attacking Planned Parenthood and the women, men, and teens who rely on us. They've shown where their priorities lie: destroying Planned Parenthood and eliminating access to reproductive health care — even at the cost of denying women medical services that could save their lives.
Don't let them do it. Click here to tell your representative to vote "NO" on any attempt to cut off women from their only source of primary care.
It's up to us to make sure local health centers have the resources they need to care for the people who rely on them every day. It's up to us to make it clear that we will not stand for these outrageous attacks on Planned Parenthood health centers or any effort to undermine access to lifesaving care. Speak out now — tell your representative to protect Title X funding and stand up for women's health.
Thank you for standing with us and helping to protect Planned Parenthood and the women, men, and teens our health centers serve.
Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
This is an issue that cuts across age lines and across gender lines. It affects children, men and women, and it affects patient populations in both rural and urban settings. Perhaps most importantly, it cuts across party lines to a very large degree. Denying basic health care to women -- denying annual exams and pap smears -- is not a goal shared by most Indpendents or most Repbulicans.
This is an excellent opportunity to especially reach out to family and friends across the aisle and ask for their support on an issue that goes directly to our common aspirations and values. Please take the time to call your representatives -- especially if they are Republican -- and let them know what you expect from them on this heinous legislation. And please circulate this call to action widely, and implore everyone you know to do the same. It is imperative that the Republicans supporting this legislation hear from their constituents of every stripe, and come to understand that this kind of assault on our daughters, mothers, sisters and wives is unacceptable to all of us.
Please comment below if you are taking action and let us know what you plan to do. It will inspire others to act and will allow us to measure the impact of this call to action.