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Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)

Well, well, well.

Remember how Republicans have been whining that using federal tax dollars to pay for health care is some kind of evil Hitlerian Kenyan socialism that has all our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves? Turns out it's bullshit.

Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones reports:

A bill that Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) introduced in January would provide federal funds for the purchase of sonogram machines at organizations that counsel women against having an abortion (the American Independent reported on this bill last week). These crisis pregnancy outfits, sometimes called "pregnancy resource centers," are often run by religious groups; many have been found to provide women with false and misleading information to dissuade them from having an abortion.
The bill, H.R. 165, laughably called the Informed Choice Act, appears quite simple:
To authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to nonprofit tax-exempt organizations for the purchase of ultrasound equipment to provide free examinations to pregnant women needing such services, and for other purposes.
But of course it doesn't allow all organizations to apply for funding. There are a few restrictions, according to Mother Jones.
To be eligible for this grant, a facility would have to show every woman seeking services the ultrasound image and describe to them the "general anatomical and physiological description of the characteristics of the fetus." The facility would be required to provide women with "alternatives to abortion such as childbirth and adoption and information concerning public and private agencies that will assist in those alternatives." It also must offer its services free of charge. That last condition would disqualify abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, which charges on a sliding scale based on a woman's income.
Crisis pregnancy centers are nothing more than religious centers that try to dissuade women from obtaining abortions by using false and misleading information.To review:
Such centers have repeatedly been found to give women false medical information for the explicit purpose of preventing them from obtaining, or even learning about, abortions.

A 2006 Congressional report, False and Misleading Health Information Provided by Federally Funded Pregnancy Resource Centers, concluded:

Pregnant teenagers and women turn to federally funded pregnancy resource centers for advice and counseling at a difficult time in their lives. These centers, however, frequently fail to provide medically accurate information. The vast majority of pregnancy centers contacted in this investigation misrepresented the medical consequences of abortion, often grossly exaggerating the risks. This tactic may be effective in frightening pregnant teenagers and women and discouraging abortion. But it denies the teenagers and women vital health information, prevents them from making an informed decision, and is not an accepted public health practice.
The bill's sponsor is the same Cliff Stearns who wanted to investigate Planned Parenthood over the O'Keefe-style sting videos that tried to show Planned Parenthood covering up a prostitution ring. That would be the same Cliff Stearns who last month said that "defunding Planned Parenthood should be a fiscal and moral priority for Congress, and for the American people." Why?
Our national debt exceeds $14 trillion and after running a federal deficit of $1.3 trillion last year, we will see a $1.5 trillion deficit this year.  I get one clear message in talking with the American people – promote job growth and control government spending.

The federal government funds thousands of programs and projects, and Congress must look at all federal expenditures and reduce or eliminate those that do not meet the needs of the American people.

So while Rep. Stearns and his fellow Republicans think there's just no room in our budget for the nation's largest women's reproductive health care provider, there is, apparently, $5 million a year to fund fake health care clinics run by religious zealots.

No word yet from Stearns on how this will "promote job growth and control government spending."

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 06:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Abortion.

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