Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Doin' the Defunding Dance

Another week, another state pulling the plug on Planned Parenthood. Yesterday the New Hampshire Executive Council, composed entirely of Republicans, voted 3-2 to cancel the state's contract with the besieged healthcare provider. In addition to losing $1.8 million in state money, Planned Parenthood has lost its ability to provide contraceptives and antibiotics to women that don't have health insurance. According to TPM, women had been able to fill prescriptions at PP for an average of $5. This decision is expected to affect approximately 120 women each day.

So what's the rationale that politicians in the "Live Free or Die" state have used for curtailing women's healthcare choices? In the words of council member Raymond Wieczorek, "I am opposed to abortion. I am opposed to providing condoms to someone. If you want to have a party, have a party but don’t ask me to pay for it."

This statement is so breathtakingly stupid and dismissive, I don't even know where to begin. For one thing, Wieczorek is overlooking the very simple fact that government money can not pay for abortions. A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of New England has said that the organization is subject to audits to ensure that only private money is used for abortions.

For another, it's fine to be personally opposed to abortions. It's fine to be personally opposed to condoms. But to push those personal opinions on other people - to restrict the ability of people to make the best, most responsible decisions for themselves - is disgusting. If Wieczorek really wanted to ensure that the people of his state made decisions that they could afford, he would support any and all efforts to provide low-cost, safe contraceptive services. By taking away a choice used by hundreds of women a week, the state that is commonly associated with personal freedom and independence, has dealt a severe blow to individual choice.


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