Well, it's come down to the wire. If Congress can not reach a consensus on the budget, as of midnight tonight, the government will shut down due to lack of funds.
Planned Parenthood. That's right: Planned fucking Parenthood. It is the one issue that is preventing the passing of a budget. The House and Senate agree on numbers and everything else. Just not Planned Parenthood. The Republican controlled House placed a rider on the budget that would completely remove all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, and will not pass a budget that does not include that bill. The Democrat controlled Senate will not pass a budget that does have that bill.
I previously wrote on how I feel about the defunding of PP. The fact that the issue has come to a head like this almost impresses me in a way. While I generally despise the vast majority of the party platforms of the GOP, I do admit that I admire them for their ability to get shit done. They can bully through legislation like nobody's business. Conversely, I generally like most of the party platform of the Democrats; they're just useless and have no spines when it comes to passing legislation (or blocking it). But on this one issue, they seem to have finally grown their long-missing spines. And rightly so, in my opinion. This is a big deal. Planned Parenthood is a vital institution that acts as part of a public health network and is readily accessible to those that would otherwise be unable to access much needed (and often expensive) medical care.
Abortion is not all that Planned Parenthood does. It is only 3% of their provided services. They do not, and can not use federal funds to provide those abortions. They are privately funded. There is no logical reason to defund Planned Parenthood. The GOP is seeking this action out of their typical slut-shaming tactics. It is yet another facet of their not-so-hidden disdain for the poor. Can't afford a kid? Have too many kids already? Too bad. Should have kept your legs close. Whore. It's not our problem you are too lazy to get a job to support your offspring.
It doesn't matter that you are already on vastly inflated birth control. It doesn't matter that despite what myths the GOP may perpetuate about "Welfare Queens", welfare is not something you can live off of by itself. It doesn't matter that despite what the anti-choicers spout, these women don't hate babies, as 66% of them plan on having children later. It doesn't matter that Planned Parenthood provides information about options other than abortion. It doesn't matter that by dispensing affordable birth control, Planned Parenthood prevents abortions (can't have an abortion if you aren't pregnant!). It doesn't matter the women who are on that birth control are generally required by law to have a gynecological exam every year in order to renew their prescription. It doesn't matter that by sticking to their slogan of having every pregnancy be a wanted pregnancy, they are helping women avoid the emotional roller-coaster that is seeking an abortion. It doesn't matter that married women use their services.
Facts don't matter. What matters, as the joke goes, is that someone, somewhere, is having fun. Women are able to have sex without life-altering consequences. That is why the GOP won't back off on the Planned Parenthood rider. And I am hoping against all hope that the Democrats will not fold. For once, please, do not fold. Do not back down. This is too important. If they truly care about the women in this country; if they truly care about their constituents, which are primarily made up of the poor and minorities (the people who need PP the most), they will not allow the budget to pass with this rider.
The GOP are hiding behind "fiscal responsibility" and using this excuse to attack women in this country. This has, and never had, anything to do with fiscal responsibility. It has everything to do with a hatred of women's sexual freedom.