Next Up: Reproductive Services
It's over for now.
Congress on Friday night/Saturday morning approved a stopgap bill, which would continue funding the federal government through the fiscal year if final approval is given by Congress next week. Besides cutting $38.5 billion from 2010 levels, the measure reportedly includes several riders. Through the efforts of the party of small government, the District of Columbia will be prohibited from using its own money to fund abortions, but it will receive funds for its private schools, presumably in an effort to deliver the death knell to its troubled public school system. Additionally, the Senate must consider two measures, defunding health care reform (by one account) and eliminating Title X subsidies.
Even before agreement was reached Friday, the GOP's propaganda machine had been revved up against Planned Parenthood, which would lose its federal funding if Title X is rescinded. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), arguably Congress' most fanatical opponent of abortion rights, dismissed Democratic support for continued federal funding of reproductive health services, claiming “You would think this is about women’s health care. It’s about abortion.” Especially because federal funding of abortion already is prohibited by law and Title X services, the point of contention the last day or two of negotiations, does not apply to abortion, other than by reducing its incidence.
Exuding class, Rush Limbaugh on Friday maintained "The only women's health issue these clowns care about on the left is abortion but they don't dare call it that. They want to fund Planned Parenthood. Why? Planned Parenthood earns its money performing abortions. That's their definition of family planning." No, actually, Planned Parenthood's definition of "family planning" includes reproductive and sexual health services required by Title X:
• pelvic exams and pap tests (early warning about cervical cancer)
• breast exams and instruction on breast self-examinations
• testing for high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes
• screening and appropriate treatment for sexually transmitted infections
• safer-sex counseling
• basic infertility screening
• referrals to specialized health care
Oddly, though, the most brazen propaganda came not from a member of the House or of the right-wing media but from a United States Senator. In debate on the floor, Arizona Republican Jon Kyl declared
Everybody goes to clinics, to doctors, to hospitals, so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don’t have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.
By now, Rachel Maddow, AMERICAblog (the source here), the Center for American Progress, Ezra Klein, and half the liberal blogosphere has picked up on the pie chart from Planned Parenthood illustrating that fully 3% of its clientele receive an abortion:
Everyone can make a mistake. But when caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Kyl (through his office), according to anchor TJ Holmes, told CNN
his remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, a (sic) organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer does subsidize abortions.
You have to admire a politician who does not issue the standard non-apology apology, something along the lines of "Senator Kyl apologizes if he offended anyone." No, here is a guy who admits he lied: was not intended to be factual. He lied, and he's proud of it, although his office pretended that he was drawing attention to the subsidization of abortions. Sleaziness Rush Limbaugh would be proud of.
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