The House Judiciary Committee recently held its first of many hearings as part of a loosely-substantiated investigation into the supposedly morally-bankrupt activities of Planned Parenthood in an effort to defund a crucial provider of health services to low income women and trans men. The common rhetoric from Democrats has been decrying the ignorance of Republicans. Pamphlets are distributed, percentages are cited, and testimonies are trending on nearly every form of social media, all in hopes that if the dusty white men leading this crusade against reproductive health are given figures and data that break down Planned Parenthood’s spending and services, that they’ll be informed and ultimately swayed.
While an honorable endeavor, ultimately, it’s ineffective.
The seemingly insatiable desire to strip people of basic services isn’t due to lack of knowledge concerning the program; they know fully well the importance of Planned Parenthood’s work: It’s just that they don’t give a shit.
Pushes by conservative voters to end abortion services and drain women’s health centers of funds is not an example of a bumbling, uneducated group of people being manipulated by those with particular interests; it’s the opposite–they know what the results of their actions will be, and simply don’t care. The truly unnerving thing is that they have heard how much more Planned Parenthood does other than abortion, about all of the numbers about what happens to women and about the fatal consequences when these resources are drained, and have still decided that their personal discomfort and moral code are more important than the lives of humans.
It isn’t a case of lack of accessible information, but rather a concentrated and intentional attack on women–specifically, women of color and those who are poor.
This defunding bill is a political move, strategically timed before the 2016 presidential election and during the Republican primary race. The lives and health of women have been reduced to intellectual exercises and topics of debate, rather than human rights. Onstage, candidates compete to see who has the more draconian plan for government-funded programs like Planned Parenthood, drawing bloodthirsty applause and cheers from the audience of voters. It just goes to prove that actively supporting the death of marginalized groups has been, and continues to be a valid political stance in the US.
Shaming the individuals who seek out abortions gains you favorability among conservative voters, so much so that it is a central facet of the Republican party’s social platform. So, despite the harm that may befall those who rely on those services, candidates are far more concerned with the percentages in poll numbers than they are with the body count that comes with it.
Support for this effort to end Planned Parenthood’s funding isn’t just support for the bill itself.
Because of the fact that areas with high ethnic minority populations have less health care providers than white ones, it’s support for the continued systematic disenfranchisement of people of color.
Because of legal and language barriers for low-income, undocumented immigrants, it’s support for the death of men and women pushed out of their homes by a stagnated economy (product of US involvement like NAFTA) and forced to move for any chance to survive.
Because of the large percentage of women on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum who rely on their services, it’s a support for the devastating cycle of poverty.
It’s short-sighted to see this as simple attempt by ignorant bible-thumpers to stop abortions. It is far more than that.
It is a mentality embedded in the fabric of our country.
It is purposefully targeting the most vulnerable.
It is ongoing war.
The lives of women don’t matter to these people, and a pamphlet isn’t going to change that. It’s going to take serious cultural restructuring to change the way our country views the medical care of poor women and women of color. I just hope you and I aren’t a casualty before then.
(Title image via under CC BY 2.0).