National Champs and a State Chump
This week we’ve been talking a lot about our Toxic Ten — the 10 members of Congress who spoke out on the Pence amendment and remain to this day bad for your health. And while the list of the Toxic Ten was mostly Republican, we wanted to take a moment to honor the Republicans who broke away from the majority of their party to stand with Planned Parenthood during the battle over funding. This week they are our honorary champions.
There were champions like Representative Richard Hanna who called cuts to Planned Parenthood “draconian” and those like Representative Robert Dold who spoke out on the House Floor calling the battle over funding for Planned Parenthood short-sighted. And even Representative Mary Bono Mack said it would be a “big mistake” and “a threat to the health of tens of thousands of American women.”
In particular though, we’d like to give champ credit to Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) who both stood with Planned Parenthood last year and who have since expressed their disappointment with the attacks on women’s health that continue to this day. Murkowski was the first Senate Republican to support Planned Parenthood, writing a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman and vice chairman, stating her support and asking them to reconsider the cuts. Murkowski has since said that the attacks on women's heealth make no sense and, "if you don't feel this is an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and your daughters." Snowe, who called the cuts to Planned Parenthood a “step too far,” has also spoken out on the battle over women’s health calling it a “retro-debate”. For their continued defense of women's health, we're giving them both the champ title.
This week’s chump award goes to none other than Arizona Governor Jan Brewer who signed the most extreme abortion ban in the United States on Thursday evening. The bill bans all abortions after 20 weeks with little exception and represents an extreme overreach by the government. By signing this bill, Governor Brewer and Arizona lawmakers proved they were willing to deny women the care they need, in the most vulnerable situations.
This bill is truly dangerous to women’s health. The narrow exception for medical emergency that is contained in the bill, allows for many scenarios when a woman’s health may be at risk, but when a doctor, for fear of being prosecuted or because the crisis does not rise to the definition of medical emergency, would not be able to offer her care. This type of extreme government overreach takes choices out of the hands of women and their doctors, and puts them into the hands of politicians (who last time we checked, didn't need a medical degree to get elected).
For signing this bill into law, Governor Brewer truly is our Chump of the Week.