If you've heard screeching about the Tea Baggers' crusade to defund Planned Parenthood and wondered how it turned out, Katha Pollitt writing in the Guardian has a summary.
The headlines are all about how the Democrats refused to cave to Republican demands to remove funding from Planned Parenthood and saved the day for women's reproductive health – at least until September, when the GOP and its media spokespeople will crank up their misogynistic fog machine all over again.
It's hard to see how they'd go further: Arizona's Jon Kyl claimed on the floor of the house that "90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions". It's actually about 3%, and his office later said his statement was "not intended to be factual". Rush Limbaugh claimed that "Planned Parenthood is a money-laundering operation for the Democrat party". Glenn Beck said that only "hookers" use Planned Parenthood. In fact, one out of every five women has visited a PP clinic, including this writer.
(Stephen Colbert picked up on the 'not intended' bit and tweeted outrageous statements with that hashtag. Others joined in and it went, as they say, viral. Colbert reports on it here.)
Getting back to the abortion story. . .
The Democrats did cave on one of the Tea Baggers' demands, though. The city of Washington, DC, cannot use its own money to fund abortions for poor women on Medicaid.
Why did they do this?
Because they could.
The U.S. Constitution allows for the creation of a special district to serve as the permanent national capital. The District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state and is instead directly overseen by the federal government.
. . .
Washington, D.C., is governed by a mayor and a 13-member city council. However, the United States Congress has supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. Residents of the District therefore have less self-governance than residents of the states. The District has a non-voting, at-large Congressional delegate, but no senators. D.C. residents could not vote in presidential elections until the ratification of the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1961.
A spokesperson for D.C. Planned Parenthood clinic says the ban will not prevent abortions, just delay them while poor women find the dough -- $400 for a first trimester procedure -- so abortions will be later, more expensive, more stressful.
This point has been made so often, to so little effect, that I sometimes wonder if the anti-choice plan is not actually to prevent abortion but simply to make it as awful as possible for the woman. Many of the 370-plus anti-abortion bills now wending their way through state legislatures are simply about creating misery, anxiety and fear – forcing women to view ultrasounds, see anti-choice counsellors, listen to scripts claiming falsely that abortions cause breast cancer and infertility, and wait, wait, wait for their procedures.
'As awful as possible.'
So, why did the Democrats cave on this?
Because they had to.
The Rethuglicans have a MAJORITY in the House and can shriek and lie and stomp their little feet and, in fact, cause the entire federal government to shut down if they don't get their way.
Is this starting to sound familiar to our Canadian readers?
Stephen Harper says he will not re-open the abortion issue even if he gets a majority.
You believe that? His base doesn't. They're going to turn out in droves to ensure that he gets his majority so that abortion, equal marriage, capital punishment, etc etc etc, will all be very much open issues.
And what will the Fucking Useless Opposition® do?
Shriek. And snivel. And wave their arms around.
What can we do to prevent this?
Remember, the Contempt Party of Canada is the natural home of bullies and liars.
Stephen Harper is lying. And the next government -- if it's a majority -- will be the biggest bully this country has ever suffered. They'll do it Because They Can.