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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Women's rights at the bottom of the totem pole for House Republicans

Chances are you've heard of the major cuts on federal funding the House is proposing under its new leader and chronic crybaby, John Boehner. The new Republican majority is attempting to reduce our federal deficit, but it can't help imparting some of its moral and religious stances in the cuts. 

Specifically, it’s targeting Planned Parenthood in an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. It passed Friday, and it cuts federal funding for the organization. This is just one of many recent amendments that attempt to restrict women's rights. (If you didn't know, some House members wanted to "redefine rape" a few weeks ago.)

The amendment includes cutting $375 million that Planned Parenthood receives for family planning in addition to any extra federal financial support for the organization.

Rep. Jackie Speier, in an emotional speech Thursday during a lengthy debate on the issue, wondered if the amendment really had any benefits at all. 

"To think that we are here tonight debating this issue, while the American people, if they are listening, are scratching their heads and wondering, “What does this have to do with me getting a job? What does this have to do with reducing the deficit?

“The answer is nothing at all." 

The real issue is that Planned Parenthood has a bad rap on the conservative side because it is an abortion provider. In reality, less than 10 percent of the organization's services are in providing abortions. 

The $317 million that the House eliminated, known as Title X, provides women access to contraceptives and family planning services who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford them. No matter your political affiliation, these services should be considered vital. 

Planned Parenthood is really the only organization of its kind. With more than 820 centers, it offers reproductive health care and sex education to millions of women and men each year. With this new amendment, the House Republicans are basically attacking these much-needed services, especially for low-income women in a still-recovering economy. 

So what can you do about it? Fortunately, it's unlikely the amendment will pass in the Senate. In the meantime, hop on over to the Planned Parenthood website and sign this letter, directed toward representatives who signed the bill and senators who can still stop it from passing. 

And in our very own Gainesville, you can attend a Walk for Choice on Feb. 26. These walks are happening all over the country in support of reproductive rights and in reaction against a similar bill that would deny women these rights. 

For those who don't want to turn back the clocks on reproductive rights and funding, let's all inform the government who's the boss of our bodies: ourselves. 

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