Georgia Cuts Off STD Test Funding To Screw Planned Parenthood; Also Nose To Spite Face

Georgia is currently struggling with some of the worst STD rates in the United States. Year after year the state – along with some of its neighbors – tops the charts in people suffering from chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. It stands to reason that the funding for STD testing and access to these services is of huge importance in the state. Unfortunately, Georgia’s Republican lawmakers are trying to destroy one of the biggest providers of this service – and for a completely unrelated reason.

In coordination with their fellow anti-abortion politicians across the country, Georgia has used the misleading videos released by pro-life activists meant to smear the non-profit women’s health clinics run by Planned Parenthood to justify dismantling them. Arguing (falsely) that Planned Parenthood is selling “baby parts for profit,” these lawmakers are hoping to use the misinformation to get rid of abortion entirely. Unfortunately, they can’t really defund Planned Parenthood’s abortion services because – despite what they think – no federal money goes towards them. Instead, they are defunding the rest of Planned Parenthood – the stuff that affects the health and well-being of millions of women across the country.

The results have been brutal and the consequences haven’t even begun being fully felt yet. In Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured people of any state in the country, Planned Parenthood clinics now say they can no longer afford to offer cancer screenings. And in Georgia, crucial shipments of STD testing kits have been halted.

As Buzzfeed reported:

Helen Cox, the director of communication for Planned Parenthood Georgia, told BuzzFeed News she believed politics, not budget pressures, were behind the decrease.

“I don’t believe it was a matter of funding,” Cox said. “The timing is too suspicious. I think it was politically motivated.”

Georgia’s Department of Public Health is denying any political motive behind the sudden evaporation of funding, which means they are either lying or staggeringly incompetent. In the midst of its soaring rates of STD infection, cutting funding to STD testing is tantamount to criminal negligence. At best. At worse, Georgia is cutting off its nose to spite its face. It’s frantic attempts to destroy Planned Parenthood because it disagrees with a women’s constitutional right to an abortion is being done at the expense of the health of all Georgians. No wonder the phrase “pro-life” rings so hollow these days.

Georgia’s struggle with fighting STDs is a national embarrassment and many of its victims are suffering from conservative policy, not lack of ability. Georgia schools proudly supports a medieval sexual education program that emphasizes abstinence over safe sex. It has a law that allows pharmacists to legally deny giving customers birth control if it upsets their religious beliefs. It already underfunds important health services, and Gov. Nathan Deal (R) has fought tooth-and-nail to prevent 600,000 of his own constituents from getting health insurance under Obamacare.

So is Georgia’s Republican leadership capable of cutting funding to STD testing at Planned Parenthood? There is no question.

Its attack on Planned Parenthood is actually two-pronged as well. When not using the cloak-and-daggers method to undermine the clinics, it is launching unnecessary investigations meant to dig up dirt on them. Like several other governors, Gov. Deal has breathlessly demanded an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s abortion procedures following the pro-life sting videos. He’s doing this despite the fact that several other states have already completed their investigation and found absolutely no wrongdoing. Perhaps he’s hoping to get lucky. But in his fishing expedition, he’s wasting thousands of dollars in tax money that could go to…say… STD testing instead.

We’re beginning to see a disturbing pattern emerge. Rather than fight abortion on legal grounds (which they’ll lose), Republicans have taken to simply preventing access to the places that provide them. It’s getting so dire that many American women are facing the reality that abortions exist “in theory” but not in practice. It’s an arrangement that suits the conservative men in charge just fine. However this tactic doesn’t just hurt women who want abortions, it hurts millions of men and women who rely on other health services at the clinics being destroyed. If there is a price too high to pay to deny women the right to choose, it sure doesn’t look like Republicans have found it yet.

Feature image via Facebook