A new spending proposal by Republicans breathes new life into some of the more egregious and severe measures against women’s health that have already been blocked by the Senate. The proposal is alarming because the attack on women’s healthcare goes beyond just focusing on abortions and birth control. The intent is to take away fundamental rights and oppress women in a much more wide-ranging way.
Despite fierce opposition from Democrats, on July 18, a House appropriations committee approved the recycled proposal on federal health, labor and education in the 2013 fiscal spending bill.
Here’s what it means to women’s health and preventive care:
Title X, a federal family-planning program for low-income women that furnishes important cancer screenings, pap smears, testing for sexually transmitted infections and birth control would be eliminated. The Obama administration recently circumvented the Republican intent to defund Planned Parenthood by awarding three states Title X grant money, which allowed them not only keep their doors open, but in some cases expand programs to men and sex education programs for teens.
Planned Parenthood would not receive any federal money unless they agree to no longer provide abortion services. It should be noted that abortion procedures are not federally funded.
The bill would also affect the Affordable Care Act, destroying the progress in women’s health care. It would impair the requirement that birth control and other preventive health services be included on employer insurance plans. It gives employers the right to deny coverage of these services based on religious values and moral objections.
If these preventive health care programs are not available, the result can be fatal. Low-income women with no insurance would not be able to get the care they need if they have cancer or other life-threatening medical issues. The Guttmacher Institute, an authority on reproductive health, reports that without birth control, unintended pregnancies would rise and result in hundreds of thousands more abortions. If the Republicans are successful in over-turning Roe v. Wade, those abortions would all be illegal and unsafe.
Coincidently, the proposal has been indefinitely postponed. Why? One can easily assume that the current content of the bill would never pass through the Senate and would invite anger from women, an important demographic. Republicans realize that women in this country make up the majority of the electorate. The GOP would prefer to keep the focus on the economy and jobs, despite the fact that they have provided no solutions for either jobs or the economy. The postponement is thinly veiled tactic meant to deflect negative attention and criticism from their blatant agenda to make women second-class citizens until and unless they secure victory in November.
It’s pretty simple. Allow a Republican majority to be voted in and say goodbye to women’s rights in this country. Say goodbye to health programs that help low-income men and women who are out of work—another direct result of Republicans and their effort to suppress the economy and job growth so they can blame Obama. Say goodbye to so many of the programs that assist people in need. Republicans like to call these programs handouts or communism.
It’s really up to you now. You need to vote. This proposal won’t pass with a Democratic majority. VOTE!
Kimberley A. Johnson is the author of The Virgin Diaries and The Spokeswoman for Rock The Slut Vote, an organization standing up and fighting the war on women. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and “like” the Rock The Slut Vote Facebook page