Little noticed in the deal that Congress approved Friday is the fact that the anti-abortion lobby got wiped out. The deal included no provisions cutting funding for Planned Parenthood -- an issue on which Republicans have been prepared to shut down the government in past budget fights. Nor did the anti-choice zealots have any success on their other proposed riders intended to reduce reproductive rights. There were proposed cuts in federal spending for sex education, family planning and Planned Parenthood. Same with efforts to further restrict abortion rights in the name of religious freedom, or international family planning, or attempts to block the government from requiring multi-state plans to include the full range of family planning services. What happened? First, the Democrats stood fast with reproductive rights groups.
People don't forget these statements, and some even take them at face value. And why shouldn't they? At that level you would expect them to be accurate. This is not the case. Instead, we are seeing an alarming increase from irresponsible presidential candidates, as well as lawmakers, in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months.
Sexual health education and access to care isn't simply a personal luxury, it's a question of national safety and security. It is the job of the government to protect its citizens, and that includes giving them information and access to prevent potential health pandemics. If Planned Parenthood is defunded, people must be given an alternative.
Republican politicians love to talk about the importance of privacy and freedom when it comes to prohibiting investigations into political corruption or when allowing unlimited, secret corporate spending in elections. But when it applies to women's healthcare, they violate basic privacy rights and interfere with medical decisions that should be between a patient and her physician.