Thursday, March 8, 2012

Women's Health Care Suffers As Republicans Slash Funding

In this exclusive, unedited Daily Show interview, Jon Stewart talks with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards about the mission of Planned Parenthood and the opposition it faces from political figures.

The Daily Show interview with Cecile Richards - pt 1

The Daily Show interview with Cecile Richards - pt 2

President of Planned Parenthood of America Cecile Richards discusses health care funding cuts in her home state of Texas.

On March 14, Texas Governor Rick Perry will cut off access to affordable health care for low-income women in Texas.

Even as more than one-quarter of Texas women are uninsured, and women in Texas have the third highest rate of cervical cancer in the country, Governor Perry is determined to make a bad situation worse for women in the state of Texas by cutting funding for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

With Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) leading the war on women, Texas Republicans in the 2011 Texas legislature cut funding for family planning clinics by two-thirds.

When the Texas Tribune asked Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), a supporter of the family planning cuts, if this was a war on birth control, he said: “Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything.”

Family planning clinics are routinely referred to by many Republican lawmakers across the U.S. as “abortion clinics.”

None of the 71 family planning clinics in the state of Texas that receive government funding provide abortions.

Those family planning clinics provide reproductive health care services to women as well as information about and access to contraceptives.

As NPR notes, the state estimates that 300,000 women will lose access to family planning services because of these cuts, resulting in roughly 20,000 additional unplanned births. “Texas already spends $1.3 billion on teen pregnancies — more than any other state.”

The GOP’s concerted campaign against women’s health and right to choose to use birth control prescriptions has resulted in about 1,000 anti-abortion bills in state legislatures across the country that include attempts to eradicate women’s access to contraceptives by redefining “personhood” rights as beginning at the moment of conception.

Listen to NPR's report on Texas' Cuts to Women's access to birth control choices

Such laws will criminalize the most common birth control choice - the birth control pill.

Texas Tribune: Leticia Parra, a mother of five scraping by on income from her husband’s sporadic construction jobs, relied on the Planned Parenthood clinic in this impoverished South Texas town for breast cancer screenings, free birth control pills and pap smears for cervical cancer.

But the clinic closed in October, along with more than a dozen others, after financing for women’s health was slashed by two-thirds by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The cuts, leaving many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, stemmed from an effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Although no clinic driven out of business performed abortions, and the cuts forced non-Planned Parenthood clinics to close too, supporters of the cutbacks say the abortion issue was behind them.

“I don’t think anybody is against providing health care for women. What we’re opposed to are abortions,” said state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center. “Planned Parenthood is the main organization that does abortions, so we kind of blend being anti-abortion with being anti-Planned Parenthood.”

Now anti-Planned Parenthood sentiment is likely to prompt the shutdown next week of another significant source of reproductive health care: the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which serves 130,000 women with grants to many clinics, including Planned Parenthood ones. Gov. Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers have taken the position that they would forgo the $40 million program — which receives $9 for every $1 the state spends — rather than give Planned Parenthood any of it.

Read the full article @ Texas Tribune

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