Republicans pass pointless legislation



How odd. I thought Republicans were interested in serious proposals to reduce our federal budget — that all they really wanted to do was free the kiddies from the shackles of debt.

And yet, four minutes after I get the e-mail from Alternet alerting me to the Republican-controlled House's passage of a bill to defund Planned Parenthood of federal money, I get an e-mail from a conservative tea partier friend of mine celebrating this politically motivated budget reduction initiative. An initiative that most certainly will fail in the Senate, but will provide Republicans with some red meat for the upcoming elections. (Remember when tea partiers claimed that they weren't Republicans?)

Why would anyone, Republican or otherwise, who claims to be interested in real debt reduction celebrate the conflation of budgetary aims with the most divisive political issue in the country? It's about as pointless as being a proponent of defunding NPR, and way more distracting.

I guess Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin really are the Republican Party.

From Planned Parenthood:

Under the guise of deficit reduction, House leaders aim to eliminate the $317 million Title X family planning program and prohibit all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, one of the largest women’s health providers in the country, as a means of cutting the national debt. These steps will actually result in thousands of women across Colorado losing access to basic primary and preventive health care such as affordable cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, Pap tests, and annual exams.

There are 62 Title X entities in Colorado, from Fruita to Burlington, that receive these federal funds. Without Title X in Colorado, over 60,000 women and men will go without family planning services. For six in 10 women who receive medical care from doctors and nurses at family planning health centers like those run by Planned Parenthood, these centers are their main source of health care. In 2009 alone, Title X providers across the country performed 2.2 million Pap tests, 2.3 million breast exams, and over six million tests for STDs, including nearly a million HIV tests. During that time Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, who does not receive Title X funds but receives funding to screen for STDs, performed almost 52,000 STD tests and more than 11,000 HIV tests. On top of that, Colorado stands to lose over $4 million dollars in federal funds with the elimination of Title X, at a time when the state cannot afford to make up for this loss.

To underscore the far reach of this piece of legislation, it would also cut off 48 percent of Planned Parenthood patients nationwide — approximately 1.4 million people — from Medicaid. Planned Parenthood’s health centers in Colorado see nearly 3,000 new Medicaid patients each year. This means there will be one less dependable provider for Medicaid at a time when fewer private doctors are accepting those patients, and as health care reform is set to allow more patients to qualify for the program.

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