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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."

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

Also republished by Abortion.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I miss Molly Ivins. (22+ / 0-)

    Every time I read about this level of hypocrisy, I miss her. She thought that bitter parody should be reserved for the powerful and the hypocrites...

    Thanks for the head's up. I think you'll have no shortage of material with this congress.

    Please donate to HEAL Africa, and support HR4128.

    by rb137 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:00:22 PM PDT

  •  So now they are doubling down on hypocrisy. (7+ / 0-)

    Keep you're government hands off my health care, unless you are using it to "freely" intrude into stopping abortions (only).  Otherwise, defund the WHOLE WORLD!

    Wow, can they be any more hypocritical?  Maybe they can use the money they saved from cutting NPR?

  •  Who knew? (12+ / 0-)

    An alternative to abortion is childbirth.  What a shock. I',m so glad they're keeping us informed.

    "You just think you're a Democrat. You'll grow out of it." My Mother, when I was 50+

    by MNGrandma on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:02:39 PM PDT

  •  And who's going to administer these things, your (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beltane, xanthippe2, Tennessee Dave

    local pervert cabal?

    "The worst that can happen to any group of people working to unseat an existing power base is their failure to imagine the lengths to which those in power will go to keep it." Cognitive Dissonance at Zero Hedge

    by CarolinNJ on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:03:20 PM PDT

  •  They'll be sorry when... (13+ / 0-)

    some of those fetuses grow up and join unions.

  •  Can we demand that cranial (9+ / 0-)

    ultrasounds be performed on all Republican congressmen? On second thought, colonoscopies would be more likely to reveal their brains.

  • keep from crying. Is this BS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, PSzymeczek, vicki

    for real?

  •  letting 'em get away with this: moral bankruptcy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    COBALT1928, LNK, marina, arlene
    there is, apparently, $5 million a year to fund fake health care clinics run by religious zealots.

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:11:15 PM PDT

  •  Freakonomics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, arlene

    The authors make a very good case that access to abortion services is what has lowered crime over the past decade or two.

    Preventing or prohibiting abortion, as the loony right wants to do, is a recipe for exploding crime. Unwanted children have poor prospects for becoming fine, upstanding citizens.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to the man. - dls

    by The Raven on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:11:35 PM PDT

    •  Oh don't worry. What they're really running are (6+ / 0-)

      adoption agencies. White infants available for adoption are hard to find since Roe. These centers create orphans. They guilt women into having babies, and they coerce young women who wanted to keep their babies (but needed assistance, which they THOUGHT the nice Christians were giving them) into relinquishing their babies.

      Adoptive parents are fed stories that make them feel good about adopting a child a mother didn't want.

      They're in the adoption business.

      Wonder why these people stick so steadfastly with abstinence-only programs that we all know DON'T work???

      Makes you wonder...

      It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... - C Dickens.

      by grover on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:04:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The larger picture... (0+ / 0-)

        ...people don't see it.

        These power-hungry Christianists are in it for the long haul. For them, it's a numbers game. The Brown People are having children at a much higher rate than good God Fearing White People, and pretty soon, if we don't start worshipping the Healthy White Baby just a little bit more in this country, the Christianists aren't going to be able to WIN.

        When you take a long look at Baby Culture in America and the political aspirations of some of these Christianists, things make a lot more sense if you just assume the point is to generate as many white people for the future as possible in order to continue to dominate the Others. In fact, it's a pretty transparent game they're playing.

        -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

        by trevzb on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:03:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's not about the deficit (7+ / 0-)

    It's never been about the deficit.  The pubs just want to determine for themselves who gets the money.   They don't have a problem spending it, regardless of how much it costs, as long as the "correct" people get it.  

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:13:05 PM PDT

  •  And by "small government" they mean (6+ / 0-)

    a big intrussive government that bullies emotionally vulnerable women into their version of morality.

    I can't believe people actually come up with this shit and think it's a good idea. There comes a point where I feel like debate isn't even worth it. Instead they just need to be told to go fuck themselves.

    Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the making of this post, but millions of electrons may have been severely inconvenienced.

    by USArmyParatrooper on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:13:46 PM PDT

  •  In too many cases, the session will go like: (7+ / 0-)

    Caring Family Planning Provider:

    "See the fetus there? That's his little arm, and there's his head growing inside your fallopian tube! How cute! Of course, this kind of pregnancy typically causes some complications, but don't worry. We'll pray real hard, and who knows the mind of God, but maybe he'll find a way for you not to die. He could be merciful and let you live, albeit permanently sterilized.

    "But don't worry, you can adopt the kid from my last patient! Poor woman got raped, but we convinced her that giving birth is what God wanted for her, even though she also lost her job last week because she missed so much work what with going to the doctor and filing police reports and all, so she can't afford to take her baby to the doctor or buy diapers or any of that.

    "So she can have her baby, you can maybe live through your entropic pregnancy, and then you can adopt her kid! It's a win-win!"

  •  Do the images show the fetus wearing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beltane, COBALT1928

    a chain and a cross?

  •  I heard that they were going to put (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beltane, COBALT1928

    microscopes on all the toilets in Congress so you can see all the sperm dying because of the wankers in the Republican Party.

    •  Male ejaculation is the cause (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      COBALT1928, marina

      of 100% of abortions in the USA. If they felt so strongly about the issue they would mandate that all men undergo vasectomies upon reaching puberty which can only be reversed if a man obtains written, notarized consent from a woman wishing to reproduce with him.

  •  What happens determines my vote. Punishment is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    my supreme mind set. I get forty lashes? Sherrod Brown and Betty Lou Sutton you get eighty. They need to stand up and fight.

    There are working poor that need them to. Nice words don't pay the rent.

    Stupid ramblings from a working stiff.

    "Misfortune shows those who are not really friends." Aristotle

    by JugOPunch on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:21:51 PM PDT

  •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, COBALT1928

    I SEE NO PROBLEM IS THIS ACTION, JUST MORE OF F&%$ YOU CITIZENS. I just wonder how many of you thought the out come would be any different?

  •  $5 million a year for fake healthcare? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How about $40 billion a year for fake problem-solving?

    21st Century Republicans would much rather legalize murder than marijuana.
    DK4 Cannabis Reform Group Writing Guidelines

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:24:42 PM PDT

  •  Contribute to Planned Parenthood (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, COBALT1928


    Just do it. Can you afford $5 a month? That's two fancy coffees, a day's worth of parking in a paid lot or one lunch you bring from home.

    We've set up an automatic monthly contribution. Until the b#^tards make it illegal to do so, we also take a tax deduction for every penny of our donation.

    "Democracy: It's not just for election day anymore" - (ripped off from Into The Woods)

    by bwren on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:35:12 PM PDT

  •  That is GOVERNEMMENT FOR YOU (0+ / 0-)

    That is GOVERNMENT for you why do thy need an expensive MACHINE when they can hire an ILLEGAL ALIEN to stand there and yell SLUT SLUT BABY KILLLER SLIUT or I would do if for free but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO it's 6000000000 for some kind of FANCY SONOWHATS tjhis iis GOVENTment it is the problem read TIMOTHY 3:2! So WAKE UP amewrica before it is TOO LATE.

  •  Ashamed to say this guy... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, COBALT1928, vicki my Congressman (FL-6). He got himself elected by calling himself a " Citizen Congressman," and promised to restrict himself to 12 years in office -- that was 22 years ago. He's got a network of big-money donors and a nicely gerrymandered district that assures he'll be re-elected for as long as he wishes. Several good, progressive Democrats have run against him and gotten trounced, mainly because both the state and national Democratic party consider the seat unwinnable and refuse to fund Democratic challengers. So we're stuck with the asshole.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:00:34 PM PDT

  •  Crisis Pregnancy Centers Are Frauds (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, COBALT1928, marina, stature, WORK

    Were any organization to operate in the same manner in every other field—say an auto repair shop, an ethical medical clinic, a law office—the proprietor would find themselves in some very hot water with the law. But because these people hide behind their religion and claims that they're bleeding heart do-gooders, they get a pass. No civilized nation on Earth should tolerate this. They are criminal enterprise perpetrating a fraud on the most vulnerable and unsuspecting—and many with the support of federal and/or state funds!

    And some times they're in it for the money. Read the article in The Nation from a couple of years ago on "Shotgun Adoption". It will make your blood boil.

    •  The key here is, how are they funded? (0+ / 0-)

      And why do progressives and the left not have an equivalent network of funding propping up such places?  Planned Parenthood charges for its services.  But crisis pregnancy centers do not.  We need to not just donate to Planned Parenthood, but get superhuge bucks-- hundreds of millions of dollars-- in play to keep Planned Parenthood able to operate without charging for its services.  

      Les Wexner, billionaire owner of Limited Brands and a huge philanthropist for many causes-- one of America's richest businessmen-- just made a promised gift of $100,000,000 to Ohio state University, to fund arts and other university activities.

      Remember when Ray Kroc's wife (Kroc was the founder of McDonalds) left tens of millions to NPR, back in the 90s?

      Where is our billionaire who could do the same for Planned Parenthood and permit it to go to free servicing?

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:23:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your Ambition is Partially Fulfilled (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Several years ago a deep-pockets anonymous donor established a fund at Planned Parenthood, that is refreshed quarterly depending on need, that provides subsidies of up to 50% of the cost for patients who lack the funds to pay for an abortion. Although it varies from state the state, PP affiliates generally charge around $400 for an abortion, the rate most private health insurers pay for an abortions. Thus a good many PP patients do get a direct subsidy, if not a fully free procedure. And while PP does charge on a sliding scale for its services, no one is ever turned away. After means testing, many do get their services at deep discounts, or, ultimately, at no charge.

  •  The most compassionate thing to do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is to understand that some people really feel extremely deeply that there is something extremely heroic about making sure babies are brought into this world so I take the GOP at their word and wish that I could organize a little theatrical that would go like this:

    I love babies. You love babies. You want babies?
    [Whip out and hand over uninsured infants who have healthcare needs that their families can't afford.]

    Keep those cameras rolling to see their reactions!

  •  Incompetent Americans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vicki, trevzb, WORK

    I lived for years in the UK and the NHS rocked. They weren't all shiny glass and chrome like so many US hospitals, but they were damned good at what they did.

    I now live in the Amsterdam and my wife and I pay around €220 a month for insurance. That covers the two of us and our daughter (children are covered for free) and the only reason we pay so much is that we opted for higher coverage because she was recently pregnant.

    When EVERY major industrialized nation other than the US has found a way to provide universal health care (not all are socialized) and EVERY major industrialized nation has lower costs than the US and all you have to do is consult World Health Organization data to see that those nations have better outcomes than the US, when Americans say "universal health care can't work", they're saying something about America, not about universal health care.

  •  This isn't healtcare spending. (0+ / 0-)

    It is a social program.

    A social engineering program.

    This better be good. Because it is not going away.

    by DerAmi on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:27:03 PM PDT



  •  How many sonogram/ultrasound machines (0+ / 0-)

    will $5 million buy?

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:09:03 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for Outing Cliff Stearns (0+ / 0-)

    He is another politician practicing without a license.  One doesn't purchase a machine from GE and plop it in a room and zap women in their lower abdominal area or intravaginally for the perverts.  Ultrasounds require a trained technician to administer the test and a radiologist to interpret the result.  The machine also requires regular maitenance by another trained technician.

    Sorry, Cliff.  Giving an ultrasound machine to a bunch of amateur do-gooders isn't going to cut it.  All it would take is a lawsuit by a client who gets an ultrasound and isn't told about a pathology revealed by the exam because no one saw it who was qualified to spot an anomoly.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:40:03 AM PDT

  •  Did they include... (0+ / 0-)

    ...wording describing how this particular measure passes Constitutionality muster?

    -5.38 -4.72 T. "...a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own." Michael Gerson

    by trevzb on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 08:56:32 AM PDT

  •  These places fool women into thinking its a clinic (0+ / 0-)

    There is one in front of my college " LA City College", best spot in town. They have a huge "free pregnancy test" sign, and no other info on what they really are. No doctors there either. Just Jesus pamphlets and a sermon. all on taxpayers dime.

    Meanwhile the real doctors are hidden and can barely make ends meet. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY!??!?

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