Kathleen Turner: The Real Target of the Planned Parenthood Attacks

By Kathleen Turner | (Otherwords.org)


“The leading GOP candidates have aligned themselves with a platform based on endangering women’s health care access.

In the first two Republican presidential debates, the candidates slugged it out over who hated Planned Parenthood the most.

Virtually every hopeful promised to defund the organization. Some of them, including Senator Ted Cruz, are vowing to force the issue — even if it means shutting down the federal government.

The impetus for these latest attacks was a series of heavily edited, misleading videos released by a front group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress. Though the videos purported to show Planned Parenthood employees engaging in a range of inappropriate behaviors, every impartial investigation since then has cleared the group of any wrongdoing.

Don't take away my cancer screens

Charlotte Cooper/ Flickr

Yet right-wing lawmakers across the country are using the doctored videos as a bludgeon against an organization that’s done so much for so many years to ensure affordable access to health care for women. Beyond providing access to abortion care that many women would otherwise lack, Planned Parenthood provides many critical health services — often in the low-income communities that need them most.

It’s women in these places who will suffer the worst from the far right’s no-holds-barred push to defund Planned Parenthood.

One especially telling example of the life-saving work the organization does comes from rural Scott County, Indiana. The area’s Planned Parenthood didn’t provide abortions, but it did provide preventative and reproductive health care, including HIV testing. After state-level funding cuts caused Scott County’s Planned Parenthood to close, HIV infection rates in the area skyrocketed to outbreak level.

Other communities across the country rely on Planned Parenthood’s services — from STD testing to cancer screenings to contraception access — but far-right politicians continue to ignore this fact.

Sadly, every leading Republican candidate for president supports a platform based on endangering access to health care for women.

Over the summer, Jeb Bush went so far as to say he’s “not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” And as early as July, Cruz raised the battle cry for Congress to do everything it could to defund Planned Parenthood — even if that meant holding up other critical government spending and shutting the government down.

That’s right: Cruz and his allies have taken the ludicrous stance that slashing funding for women’s health is more important than, for example, ensuring that low-income pregnant women receive their much-needed nutritional benefits on time, providing loans to small businesses and homeowners in rural areas, or enabling public servants in the Department of Veterans Affairs to reduce their backlog of claims.

This is all part of a broader strategy of shutting down all access to legal abortion in the United States. By closing clinics through defunding Planned Parenthood and passing burdensome, unnecessary regulations that clinics are unable to comply with, conservative extremists have effectively eliminated the reproductive rights of millions of women — especially low-income women in rural areas.

As a side effect, women across the country are finding it more difficult to access a wide range of affordable health care services like birth control and cervical cancer testing. But that apparently doesn’t bother anti-choice lawmakers. They’ll happily attack a woman’s right to choose, even if it means taking her right to health care with it.

Kathleen Turner is an award-winning actress and an advocate for women’s right to choose. She serves on the board of the People For the American Way Foundation. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

9 Responses

  1. “It’s women in these places who will suffer the worst from the far right’s no-holds-barred push to defund Planned Parenthood.” That’s a feature, not a bug.

    See Katha Pollitts’s “If Abortion Were About Equality, Would Americans Like It Better? It is—and that’s the problem.”
    link to thenation.com

    • The question is, what is the Right’s end game? It clearly goes beyond abortion. Now it openly attacks even access to contraception.

      Of course, none of this affects the rich, meaning that poor people, mostly non-white in the future, will multiply while the nation’s wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands. We know that the Right already is gerrymandering and voter-IDing non-whites so that they can never win elections at the state and national level. That leaves the struggling working-class whites as the only electorate allowed in the future.

      Now when all governmental health care for the lower class is exterminated, what remains? A few will still have insurance from their jobs, but Hobby Lobby proved that in certain firms right-wing bosses can dictate what their employees are allowed to have on ideological grounds.

      Everything is being narrowed down to religion. Catholic dioceses are abandoning their social commitment to educating the inner-city poor to chase white flight in the suburbs. But in Protestant-world, blacks and whites don’t even go to the same churches and the financial resources are all with the latter.

      We are being forced back into the Middle Ages, except this time instead of a blatant monopolistic Catholic church, many denominations will compete to whore themselves to rich donors, promising to keep the poor under control the most cost-effective way possible. That includes schools and hospitals.

      My conclusion is that in the planned future, the poor will be forced to crawl to the most racist, pro-greed churches to beg for health care and pass all kinds of ideological tests and indignities to qualify. They will be terrified into silence on political issues, down to their very right to vote.

      Feudalism was awful, but it lasted almost 1500 years. Someone’s making long-term plans to bring it back.

  2. The all-out war against a woman’s RIGHT to have control over her own body has reached the state of INSANITY by vocal and sometimes violent factions in our once great country. These extremist factions are attempting to retrogress woman’s equality compared to those of men back to the 1930s.

    FACT – The reproductive rights of women were firmly established during the previous century.

    INSANITY? You betcha –

    • Using the irrational flailing of small passionate and dogmatic extremist groups to provide content FILLER and DIVERSION by corporate-controlled media is imbalanced, counter-productive and SUSPECT.
    • Political candidates who support and promote the war on a woman’s rights to gain votes PROVES they are unfit to lead.
    • The sociopathic greed in corporate-owned medicine to eradicate any form of health care which is affordable and out of their control plays a major role in this twisted hoopla.
    • The subconscious desire to mandate the long-arm-of-the-law to enter every woman and girl in our country by proxy is sick beyond definition.
    • The overt fixation by the reactionary extremist factions of the far-right on the female genitals and her reproductive process is just plain creepy.

    If a person begins at the instant of conception, as extremists contend, the male sperm and female egg are joined to form that “person.” Until that event, that sperm and that egg are still irrevocably indispensable for life to exist.

    A woman’s right to control her reproductive process is under attack only because she is solely, and by happenstance, the only source of an egg and the only attendant incubation chamber for humans to exist. Why then are males not under attack for their cruel and unjust treatment of their sperm?

    Billions upon billions of sperm die slow, twitching deaths in tissues, socks and where disposal is convenient every single day. WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE??? 94% of men masturbate and the other 6% are liars.

    An argument no less INSANE than the current attack on women seen in our country, today.

  3. Thanks for a good essay.

    The GOP seems to have made their plan pretty clear by now. You can’t build a right wing police state without the subjugation of women.

  4. The republicans are extremely foolish to side with the anti-abortion, anti-birth control MINORITY.

    In the medium to long term, the anti-abortion MINORITY can NOT WIN and in fact will lose everything due to some basic facts:

    -For over 50,000 years human females have used birth control to minimize pregnancies. The only difference between then and now is we now have much safer and effective technology.

    -For over 50,000 years human females have terminated pregnancies. The only difference between then and now is we now have much safer technology.

    Human females will NOT change this 50,000 year behavior.

    – No matter how draconian the laws become, abortion and birth control will continue. Recently RU-486 “abortion” pills were sent via balloons over the border into a country that has strict antiabortion laws.

    – When the laws become draconian enough, the republican party will be almost wiped out.

    – almost half the women in the USA know at least one woman (themselves of a close friend or relative) that has had an abortion and most will not tolerate restrictive laws.

    – The younger women are waking up to the fact that they need to use their political power to defeat the antiabortion folks once and for all. The republicans will NOT get any of those votes.

    The bottom line is while the republicans may be able to use abortion to get some votes right now, in the mid term they will have to either completely throw the antiabortion folks overboard with an anchor around their neck or suffer massive defeat.

    Just who do the republican think is the constituency for antiabortion laws? As I try to count the numbers I can’t get over about 25% of the population.

    From a purely practical point of view, the republicans should tell the antiabortion folks to shut up and go sit in the corner and never bring up any more antiabortion laws because the topic is a mid term loser.

  5. This would be the perfect opportunity for women all over this country to dig into their own pockets and come up with the funding rather than go to the government. It would simultaneously cut the Republicans off at the knees and show everyone how women can “do it”. All it would take would be the cost of one Starbucks Latte.

    The problem is that women will never pay for anything as long as they think they can get a man to do it. We would have better luck getting them to pay alimony. Hypergamy means that they would rather force religious people of good conscience to fund THEIR private parts even thought they know it would only cost them ONE Latte. Start buying your own drinks and we will all be better off.

    • 100% total misogynist BS.

      Women are humans with FULL equality and reproductive rights are part of that equality.

      Birth control is extremely expensive and just like male health services, should be 100% covered by health insurance and public services.

      Religious people have NO RIGHT to say anything about any other human’s behavior and if they are participating in public transactions they can NOT use their religious misogyny to discriminate against other humans.

      Religious people have a simple choice:

      – participate in a multicultural society without discrimination, or

      – If they are unable to get over their extreme prejudices, they should withdraw from society and live in religious enclaves.

      If you want to live in society, follow society’s rules and do not discriminate.

      Women are humans too and deserve all the rights men have.

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