Monday, February 14, 2011

The GOP’s Ongoing War on America’s Women and Children: Demonizing Women’s Choices

The sponsors of “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R.3) do not seek to codify the existing the Hyde Amendment to prevent federal funding of abortions – there is no federal funding of abortions in the U.S.  The sponsors of H.R.3 seek to go far beyond the Hyde Amendment to prevent all women from obtaining abortion services.  In 1976 the Hyde Amendment created a two tier system that discriminates against poor women seeking abortions.  But now H.R.3 would increase taxes on people and small businesses by specifically targeting private health insurance plans that cover abortion.  More than 80% of health insurance plans cover abortion and those plans would become ineligible for government reimbursements for health care costs.  It will raise taxes on anyone with private insurance that covers abortion regardless of whether you use the abortion coverage in your plan or not.  The inevitable consequence will be that insurance companies will stop covering abortion services. 

According to a Guttmacher Institute study “…87% of typical employer-based insurance policies in 2002 covered medically necessary or appropriate abortions.”

H.R.3 would effectively ban abortion coverage in the new health insurance exchanges that will be created under the Affordable Care Act in 2014. 

·         Denying tax credits to employers or other entities that pay for health plans that cover abortion
·         Denying tax credits to individuals or entities that pay for abortion care
·         Disallowing medical deductions for payments for any health plan that includes abortion coverage or for any medical expenses related to abortion care
·         Treating as income any amounts paid for an abortion from a tax-preferred trust or account, such as a health savings account

Yet the GOP’s war on women goes well beyond H.R.3. 
The Chairman of the Appropriations Committee Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY) has introduced a litany of proposed budgets cuts that will have dangerous consequences for women and children.  Some of those cuts include:

·         Cutting $327 million from Family Planning (Title X Family Planning program enacted in 1970)
·         Cutting $758 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
·         Cutting $210 million from Maternal and Child Health Block Grants
·         Cutting $1.3 billion from Community Health Centers
·         Cutting $96 million from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
·         Cutting $400 million from Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Contingency Fund

So not only does the GOP want to remove access to abortion coverage for poor women, but now for all women; but they are now trying to deny women access to birth control --- which is the best way women can prevent unintended pregnancies. 

But the assault on women goes even further with Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) introducing H.R.217 the “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act,” is his never ending quest to defund Planned Parenthood. 
Now Pence is getting an assist from Live Action and Lila Rose.  Lila Rose is an associate of James O’Keefe.  O’Keefe targeted ACORN offices in 2009 with a similar strategy and convinced the House of Representatives to defund ACORN in September 2009, which was then controlled by Democrats.  Lila Rose and Live Action are following that same strategy and have released a series of highly edited “sting” videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood employees counseling sex traffickers on how to get underage girls abortions and birth control.  This is the evidence that Mike Pence is using to attack Planned Parenthood’s funding despite the fact that Planned Parenthood immediately contacted the FBI and the Justice Department about this sex trafficking ring, which of course turned out to be an elaborate hoax.  

So even though these videos have been discredited by every legitimate news organization because liberal groups and Media Matters exposed the hoax, Mike Pence, Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Virginia Foxx (R-NC) , Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) , Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), and Andy Harris (R-MD) have all joined forces with Lila Rose to “expose” and defund Planned Parenthood.  They also joined forces at a press conference on February 10th to justify passing H.R.217 and their attack on women’s health care.  Pence issued the following statement:

The recent release of an undercover video exposing duplicity and potential criminality by an employee of Planned Parenthood is an outrage.  Every American should be shocked that an employee of the largest recipient of federal funds under Title X has been recorded aiding and abetting underage sex trafficking.  The time to deny any and all funding to Planned Parenthood is now.  In the wake of yet another scandal involving Planned Parenthood, I urge Congress to move the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act to the floor for immediate consideration.

By relying on this smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, these GOP leaders are seeking to eliminate vital health care services for vulnerable women throughout the country.  The attacks on access to abortion services combined with the attacks on all family planning services demonstrates that the House Republican leadership is concerned with one thing and one thing only: continuing their ongoing war against the health and welfare of America’s women and children by any means necessary. 

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