What We're Reading This Morning -- May 8
Good morning, everyone! As voters in Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia head to the polls to vote in their state primaries (and Wisconsin votes in the primary for the recall election), Mitt Romney earned another endorsement from an anti-women’s health politician: former rival Rick Santorum. Conservative candidates continue to flock behind Romney, while the attacks on women’s health continue in the states.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning…
The migration to Mitt continues; former Republican rival and fellow anti-women’s health candidate Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney last night. “Santorum Endorses Onetime Rival Romney” – “Rick Santorum gave a long-awaited endorsement to Mitt Romney, his top rival for the Republican presidential nomination, after weeks of deliberation and an hour long meeting last week with Mr. Romney. The endorsement came at the end of a long email written by Mr. Santorum to his supporters sent at about 11 p.m. Monday. Mr. Santorum had abandoned his White House bid on April 10. The seal of support for Mr. Romney appeared tepid. Mr. Santorum offered his nod only after first noting that he had won 11 states and ‘more counties than all the other candidates combined.’ The months of Republican debates and primary contests, he wrote, ‘certainly made it clear that Governor Romney and I have some differences.’… In his letter, Mr. Santorum listed the many areas of agreement between the two, such as a need for lower taxes and less government spending. ‘We certainly agree that abortion is wrong and marriage should be between one man and one woman,’ he wrote.”
Protecting women’s health in the Lone Star state. “As Texas Cuts Funds, Planned Parenthood Fights Back” – “Texas already cut its support statewide for women's health clinics by two-thirds in 2011, eliminating access to family planning services for nearly 300,000 poor and working-class women. The Texas Legislative Budget Board estimates those cuts will result in roughly 20,000 additional unplanned births. Texas currently ranks first among the states in spending on teen births. But for abortion opponents, the issue is not about money but about keeping Planned Parenthood out of the Texas Women's Health Program, which provides services to low-income women. ‘In essence, the rule bars being Planned Parenthood and being in this program,’ says Helene Krasnoff, a Planned Parenthood lawyer. ‘It bars it in numerous ways: Because we advocate to protect women's access to safe and legal abortion. It bars it because we associate with entities that engage in that conduct. It bars you from having any relationship with any provider of abortion services.’ Essentially, Krasnoff says, ‘You can't be connected with comprehensive reproductive health care’ without running afoul of the law.’”
The attacks continue in the states as conservative lawmakers push legislation to restrict women’s access to care. “Planned Parenthood fight continues at state level” – “While the national fight over Planned Parenthood has died down for now, Republican governors and legislators in numerous states have fought to defund the group. The use of federal funds for abortion services is already barred under the Hyde Amendment, but many states have cut off or attempted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood altogether. Opponents of the group argue that any public money for the Planned Parenthood ultimately helps support abortion. But supporters of Planned Parenthood are using the cutting of family planning and women’s health care funds as part of the argument that Republicans have waged a ‘war on women’…. Bills that would restrict Planned Parenthood are also on the table in Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma. The bans in Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina all face legal challenges. ‘We will not let politics interfere with the health care that three million people rely on Planned Parenthood for every year,’ Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said.”