The State of Texas and its Ongoing Battle against Planned Parenthood

''Viva la vulva!'' photo (c) 2011, Timothy Krause - license:
Though they will deny it until the end of time, the GOP is
engaged in a war against women’s reproductive freedom.  From ridiculous comments suggesting that a
child created from
rape is God’s gift,
to the elimination and or restriction of clinics which
offer abortions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a woman’s bodily
autonomy to be respected. 

Planned Parenthood and the Texas government have been in and
out of court for months over government funding. Last Thursday, Planned
Parenthood lost its attempt in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the
planned defunding of its services and that of their affiliates because of
abortion.   According
to CNN,
“The Texas Women’s Health Program provides about 130,000 low-income
women with family planning exams, related health screenings and
contraception.”   On Saturday, Judge Amy
Clark Meachum, issued
a temporary restraining order
, which inspired Governor Rick Perry to use
twitter to state his objections.
Lost in the argument about choice is the fact that Planned
Parenthood does a lot more than provide safe low cost abortions.  Planned Parenthood is a women’s health clinic
where women receive free or low cost services for things like: pap & HPV
Tests, breast cancer screenings, treatment for urinary tract infections,
infertility, yeast infections & vaginitis, high blood pressure screening,
cholesterol screening , the morning after pill, diabetes screening and
anemia testing to name a few.  These
are clearly essential services because 48.6 million people are currently
without health care in the U.S. 
Preventive testing and healthcare saves lives.   Thanks to universal healthcare, a Canadian
born today can expect to live 81.38 years, in comparison to an American who has
a life expectancy of 78.37 years.  That’s
a difference of 3.7 percent.  The infant
mortality rate is also lower in Canada, with 4.92 deaths per thousand to
America’s 6.06 deaths per thousand.   Healthcare
from the moment of conception, leads to longevity and greater quality of
life.  That is what is at stake with the
defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Though the GOP has framed this as a war about abortion, so
much more is clearly at stake.  The
preventive screenings done by Planned Parenthood aid in the detection of
diseases like cancer.  The earlier
diseases like cancer are found and treated, the greater the chance of survival
is.  Problems that may onetime have been
small medical issues, turn into life threatening conditions when they are not
properly treated. When a person does finally arrive at the hospital emergency
for treatment, the cost will almost always be exceedingly more and be
incredibly more life threatening.  The
defunding of Planned Parenthood is not only a war on women; it’s a war on the
poor. This is most assuredly a form of genocide that goes unrecognised because
it is happening to the poor and underclass. 
Legislators, with their government health plan, don’t have to worry
about making the choice between seeing a doctor, or buying food and paying
Even if we are to believe the nonsense that the concern is
for the life of the child, the GOP’s resistance to a single payer healthcare
system, which would insure that the 7.3 million children currently living
without health insurance receive good medical care, proves that this is not
about life.  The only health they are
truly concerned about is the financial bottom line.  
Women have always taken their reproduction into their own
hands.  Even if the GOP were to manage to
overturn Roe vs. Wade tomorrow, it would not call a halt to abortions, simply
legal abortions.  It would be a setback
for women because it would lead to back alley abortions which are
dangerous.  According to
(National Organisation of Women), approximately 50% of all maternal
deaths resulted from illegal abortions during the first half of the 20th
century.  The World Health Organisation
calls unsafe abortions “the preventable pandemic.”   Worldwide, 19-20 million abortions are
performed by unqualified people in unsanitary locations, which results in an
estimated 68,000 deaths and leaves millions of women with lifelong health
issues.  Whether abortion is legal or
not, this procedure will happen and so the only concern should be about making
it as safe and easy to access as possible. 
A group of cells may one day develop into a child, but it is not a child
until it can live independently from its mother.  What we do know is that a woman without
access to good health care risks her life and at the very minimum her quality
of life.  
There is no question that the defunding of Planned
Parenthood is a moral issue.  The problem
is that the GOP is on the wrong side of the moral right.  Respecting life should mean that women’s
health care is a priority. Restricting access to Planned Parenthood for
providing a perfectly legal medical procedure shows a complete lack of concern
for the lives of girls and women.  In a
world where women truly mattered, there would never be a time when women would
not be trusted to deal with their own reproductive choices and healthcare
needs. Setting up abortion as a litmus test in which people can decide where
their taxes go, ignores the various ways in which tax dollars are used every
day in a manner in which many may not approve of. Abortion has only become the
moral standard because it eliminates the reproductive freedom of women.

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