Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meanwhile, In Washington

I thought about filing this in the "Unsurprising News" category, but the fact that the New York Times actually called out the Republicans for their assault on women's rights made that categorization inappropriate. This time the Grey Lady got it right.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are mounting an assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies in struggling families. And this is just the beginning. ...

The egregious cuts in the House resolution include the elimination of support for Title X, the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the absence of Title X’s preventive care, some women would die. The Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health, says a rise in unintended pregnancies would result in some 400,000 more abortions a year.

Oh, House Republicans will claim that the federal government has no business supporting the killing of innocent preborn babies, but the NYT editorial notes that more is at work here than a concern for the unborn.

Beyond the familiar terrain of abortion or even contraception, House Republicans would inflict harm on low-income women trying to have children or who are already mothers.

Their continuing resolution would cut by 10 percent the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, which serves 9.6 million low-income women, new mothers, and infants each month, and has been linked in studies to higher birth weight and lower infant mortality.

Unborn equals good. Born, eh, not so much. And NYT columnist Charles Blow follows up on this theme.

Republicans need to figure out where they stand on children’s welfare. They can’t be “pro-life” when the “child” is in the womb but indifferent when it’s in the world. ...

It is savagely immoral and profoundly inconsistent to insist that women endure unwanted — and in some cases dangerous — pregnancies for the sake of “unborn children,” then eliminate financing designed to prevent those children from being delivered prematurely, rendering them the most fragile and vulnerable of newborns. How is this humane?
[Emphasis added]

How indeed?

House Republicans see all of this as a two-fer: they get to throw a bone to the Religious Reich, their basest base, and they get to put women, especially poor women, in their place -- the kitchen, barefoot, and pregnant.

Jesus wept.

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