Deja Vu All Over Again
For many, the end of 2012 was a welcome relief. While 2012 was not the worst year in recent history for pro-choice advocates, it certainly wasn’t the best. Over 40 state abortion restrictions were enacted in states ranging from Arizona to South Carolina to Virginia. These laws took many forms, some more egregious than others: parental notification policies were tightened, abortion coverage even on the insurance exchanges was abolished, later term abortions were criminalized, and mandatory waiting periods and counseling (where women can be presented with misleading misinformation such as the supposed link between abortion and breast cancer) were enacted.
2013 was supposed to be different. The amount of women sworn into Congress last week was an all time high, the long time fight over abortion access for servicewomen was won, and some of the most offensive state ballot initiatives were defeated. Which is why the reintroduction of the Title X Abortion Provider Act so early in the new Congress was so disappointing.
Introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), this bill would prevent any organization that offers abortions from receiving money through the federal government’s Title X funding stream, which provides money for family planning programs. In particular, due to the way the bill is constructed, Planned Parenthood could stand to lose their federal funding. Planned Parenthood provides numerous services essential to women’s health – and abortions, while only 3% of what PPFA does – are not funded by the federal government even given the existing set-up.
As Jews, we support a woman’s right to choose, and to control what happens to her body. But more than that, we support access to health care for all. Defunding essential medical providers would do an extreme disservice to our broader society. Tell your member of Congress to protect access to contraception for all women, and continue to fight for women’s health in your own communities.