“I have never felt my right as a woman was more threatened than I do today,” said Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at a Planned Parenthood rally yesterday who emphasized that she was 6 years old when Roe v. Wade was passed and we will not go back to that time. She also asked that Florida Gov. Rick Scott stop playing politics with women’s lives as he recently signed FOUR bills that would curb women’s access to abortion.
This last year has been some kind of conservative utopian sci-fi nightmare where “back then” is threatening to be “right now,” and rights we grew up taking for granted on a certain level are steadily being denied to American women. Access to abortion continues to be used as a bargaining chip with little recognition of the actual cost lack of access has on women’s lives.
Wasserman Schultz’s point speaks to a larger trend in playing politics with women’s rights–as others have noted–these rights are being taken away exactly because they are seen as up for grabs by both sides of the aisle. A willingness to negotiate on access to abortion creates the very space that allows the rights to be taken away in the first place. That’s why we’ve seen more cutbacks in the last year then ever before.
Ann wrote last spring about proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood and Democrats making compromises on reproductive rights,
Far from breaking faith with decades of compromise on this issue, extreme anti-choice legislation is the result of it. And it’s no longer just about abortion. Republicans in the House voted to slash all Title X funding—money that provides low—income women with contraception, cancer screening, and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Some more moderate Republicans are claiming this is purely financial: Taxpayers can’t spare $327 million for low-income women’s health and family planning. Never mind that every $1 spent on Title X programs saves $4 down the road.
This still doesn’t go far enough for some conservative lawmakers. Having won the battle to marginalize reproductive care in the health-insurance debate, they have ramped up attacks on Planned Parenthood—which, in the absence of true health-care reform, is the de facto health-care provider for millions of women. The House overwhelmingly passed an amendment designating Planned Parenthood as ineligible for federal funds, even those that are not used to provide abortions. The legislation will no doubt have the intended effect of further marginalizing women’s reproductive health care.
So thank you Wasserman Schultz for saying the things that need to get said. It is time for accurate messaging around the real implications for what cutbacks to our access to reproductive rights actually does to our lives and it’s not a good look.