What We're Reading -- April 16
Good morning everyone! As the attacks on women’s health continue, prominent Republicans hit the Sunday show circuit to defend their support of women in hopes of closing the gender gap. Meanwhile, you only have to look at the states to realize that the attacks on women’s health are not a fiction.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning….
After Governor Rick Perry slashed the women’s health budget and sabotaged the Women’s Health Program, health providers in Texas are figuring it out. “Two years in the life of a Texas Planned Parenthood: ‘We’re figuring this out as we go.’” — “Of the nine states that have defunded Planned Parenthood, eight are held up in legal challenges. Texas’ is the only to come into effect. Lambrecht and I spoke last week about what, exactly, it’s like to be a Planned Parenthood in Texas right now. The reduced funding couldn’t come at a worse time, he said. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured; a quarter of its residents lack coverage. That number has grown during the economic downturn, as have the women Planned Parenthood sees. ‘We’re very much figuring this out as we go,’ Lambrecht said. ‘It’s problematic because these are women who live paycheck to paycheck. They’re earning about $150 a week and their gas tank is empty with $4 gas.’ Lambrecht has learned a lot about the best way to close a women’s health clinic. When five buildings closed in 2011, which had previously served 12,000 women, Planned Parenthood still managed to serve 8,000 of them elsewhere. They’re testing out travel voucher programs, for those who have lost a nearby location, and giving more birth control prescriptions over the phone. ‘The people who are really hurt are rural Texans,’ he said, ‘Who have few alternatives. So we’re looking at building clinics that are bigger, and have less overhead, to try and reduce costs.’”
Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday grilled Romney surrogate, Ed Gillespie, when he tried to suggest that cutting funding to Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have a great impact on women’s health. “Chris Wallace Takes Romney Supporter Ed Gillespie To Task On ‘War On Women’” — “On Fox News Sunday earlier, former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie came on to defend the record of Mitt Romney, the GOP’s presumptive nominee to go up against President Obama in the November election. Chris Wallace grilled Gillespie on Republican policies towards women, why they are doing poorly amongst Latino voters, and why the candidate is taking his time to get his tax releases out into the public square. Wallace brought up Romney’s support of the Paul Ryan budget, which would cut services that many middle-class women rely on, and his commitment to shutting down Planned Parenthood. He asked Gillespie how Romney could then try to sell himself as the ideal candidate for women to support. Gillespie argued that the whole Planned Parenthood debate boils down to whether or not one favors giving federal funds to the organization. Wallace noted that Congress has been funding Planned Parenthood for years, but not specifically regarding its abortion services.”
Michelle Bachmann says “every aspect of women’s lives would be better” under Romney, leaving us to wonder if she’s looked at the policies he’s supported (supporting the Blunt amendment, getting “rid of” Planned Parenthood). “Anti-Abortion Bachmann Says Women Need To Make Their Own Decisions About Their Bodies”—“Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) argued that women should be allowed to make choices over their own bodies, while blasting Obamacare on Meet The Press. Without noting the irony of the GOP war on women targeting Planned Parenthood, abortion services, and contraception coverage, Bachmann said women need to be allowed control over their own bodies:
BACHMANN: What we want is women to be able to make their own choices [...] We want women to make their own choices in healthcare. You see that’s the lie that happens under Obamacare. The President of the United States effectively becomes a health care dictator. Women don’t need anyone to tell them what to do on health care. We want women to have their own choices, their own money, that way they can make their own choices for the future of their own bodies.
Bachmann doesn’t believe a women’s right to choose applies in all cases, though, promising on the presidential campaign trail that in addition to supporting an abortion ban, she wouldn’t allow exceptions for rape or for the woman’s health.”