It comes down to this, again.

Negotiations on the federal budget failed yet again last night, with reports coming out of Washington that the two parties are more or less in agreement on the numbers, but that they cannot agree on several “social” issues: Republicans are threatening to shut down the government unless Democrats agree to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. They’re also demanding the de-funding of the UN Population Fund and the Environmental Protection Agency, because if you’re slutty enough to accidentally get pregnant, your unplanned children don’t deserve to breathe clean air.

Here’s what the Republicans are demanding, in convenient and infuriating bullet point form, thanks to the New York Times:

• No federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Instead, state administration of federal family planning funds, which means that Republican governors and legislatures will not spend them.
• No local financing for abortion services in the District of Columbia.
• No foreign aid to countries that might use the money for abortion or family planning. And no aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports family-planning services.

So it comes down to this, again. The government shutdown comes down to whether or not politicians care about women’s health.

The Republicans, we already know, do not care. Not only do they not care, they’re actively working to make it more difficult for American women to receive life-saving healthcare.

And we should not be surprised for a moment. The GOP’s insistence that they care most about and are focused on jobs has been repeatedly contradicted by their attempts to block access to reproductive healthcare in the states. The GOP, despite its insistence that the government that governs least governs best, has spent the last few months devising as many avenues as possible for the government to involve itself in every pregnancy in the country. As the Times editorial board observes today, this is not about spending, and it’s not about making government smaller or more efficient.

So it’s down to the Democrats. Do the Democrats care enough about women’s health to stand firm? Or are our rights going to be traded away for a political victory, like they were when the healthcare reform act passed?

Some Democrats are pissed off. Patty Murray, the Senator from Washington, is one of them. “I am really stunned, and I am angry as a woman … that there are those in the Republican Party in the House who are willing to shut down the government, take people’s paychecks away from them, because they want to deny women access to health care in this country.”

It comes down to this. Will the Democrats fold, leaving millions of American women without access to cancer screenings, gynecological healthcare, contraception, STI testing and abortion? Do the Democrats have our backs, or will we be thrown under the bus, yet again?

A citizen’s health is not a bargaining chip. A citizen’s health is not a political football. Unless, apparently, that citizen happens to be a woman, in which case, bargain and play ball. We’re only 51% of the population. We’re only responsible for gestating the next generation of Americans, so we don’t really need to be healthy. We’re only women, right, so who the fuck cares?

No, really, I wasn’t asking that rhetorically. Who the fuck cares? I sure as hell hope the Democrats do.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted April 8, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    At this point it’s so overwhelming and frustrating I just want to cry. I’m sorry to say I don’t have much hope for the outcome on this…

    • Posted April 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. I’m numb with fury in a way I hoped was history after Bush left office.

      Obama MUST step up and frame this conflict as a cynical standoff over anti-woman legislative riders — framing is how Clinton won political capital for Dems during the last shutdown. Reid needs that help. We voted for Obama because we believed he’d defend policy that affects women’s health.

  2. Posted April 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when adults act like petty children.

  3. Posted April 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Let’s forget our humanity for a moment and talk about money. The Republican party is nothing without fiscal conservatives. Last I heard, spending money on family planning services saves healthcare dollars and in a big way. I heard a number somewhere along the lines of $4 for every dollar spent, but I’m not checking my sources right now, so I won’t stand by that number. Shouldn’t we be spending more on family planning then?
    Also, theoretically family planning should reduce the number of poor people who need government assistance, and Republicans hate poor people. Why wouldn’t they want to prevent more poor people?
    I’m frustrated with their carelessness with tax payer dollars.

  4. Posted April 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Ooo this really makes me mad. Honestly I wish we could just clear the lot of them out and elect a whole new congress…

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