Epiphanyblog

All about ideas…

GOP Assault on Women and Families

with one comment

I’m not talking about the economic assault brought on by policies that cut financial aid to families such as unemployment. Nor am I talking about the Right’s campaign against abortion.

Childhood poverty

What I’m talking about is the GOP’s disconnect between their positions regarding children.

Following the lead of many GOP politicians, newly elected Wisconsin governor Walker has stated in his new budget that he’s eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood while at the same time dramatically cutting Medicare, education, and other low income support. Gov. Walker, of course, has gone one step further in his cynicism: he seeks to increase burial funds for low income people.

Here’ s the scenario as I see it.

First cut off low cost family planning so low income women have more children; then cut Medicaid and other low income support so children of low income families cannot house, feed, clothe and otherwise care for their children – let alone pay exorbitant hospital and maternity bills costing taxpayers millions; and then let the state pay for the burials of the dead children who lacked adequate medical care, food, clothing and a roof over their heads.

To me these policies are not just illogical, they’re amoral.

But let’s go through these issues:

Planned Parenthood is one of the foremost services used by low income women for annual cancer screenings, birth control, and other women’s problems. Planned Parenthood is not just about abortions. I know.

When my daughter was working while saving for college, she had no health insurance. As a result, she used Planned Parenthood for her annual checkup. Thanks to their low cost testing, they found several intrauterine and tubal cysts early before the cysts caused any major harm. If not for PP, she would not have been able to afford the tests that potentially saved her reproductive years – and maybe her life. I’m extremely thankful Planned Parenthood existed to save my daughter’s health and perhaps her life.

But there’s another reason to keep Planned Parenthood funded: family planning. Yes, contraception. Contraception enables families who don’t feel they can afford to care for more children not have those children. That’s not only sensible, it’s moral. I’m a firm believer that no child should be brought into this world unloved and unwanted only to suffer from hunger and lack of care as a result of economics. Parents should have the right to prevent pregnancies of children for which they believe they cannot afford to care adequately or appropriately.

Regarding cutting Medicaid and other low income support. As a result of the Wall St debacle and resulting employment crash, many families are struggling to survive. It’s not the fault of millions of families who lost their jobs and now need help. They were the victims of Wall Street’s excess and companies cutting back in an economically volatile and frightening time. But to now cut services to the very same people who worked hard but lost out in this Great Recession while at the same time giving tax breaks to the most wealthy feels wrong. Maybe it’s the way I was raised in a God-fearing, Protestant church that said all people were the children of God and to be loved as He loved them. To harm the least among us, is to harm Him…and me as His child.

I’d love it if, right now, there were good paying jobs for everyone who lost their’s and wanted another. I’d love it if private non-profits could pick up the financial slack for these families. But the reality is that’s not the case. To harm the physical welfare of living and breathing children by reducing their support seems excessively harsh.

Cutting expenditures for education of any child may reduce their future potential. Anyone in government, from federal to county levels, should resist wholesale slashes to education budgets. The United States has entered into a global economy in which competition for products and thus jobs depends upon highly skilled and educated laborers. If you read about Singapore schools, you’ll see how far off the mark we are compared to them for global competition. We know that early childhood education works to elevate scholastic outcomes so why is funding for these programs being cut?

Do we not want to compete with China and Singapore? Do we want to become a economic third world nation where we have a very wealthy highly educated elite and a poorly educated underclass? I’m not saying every taxpayer dollar is well spent in the educational system or that teachers’ unions have been non-complicit in the problems, but I am saying that massively cutting education budgets may prove more harmful over the long term.

Regardless of how you view each of these subjects individually, altogether, as one coherent policy decision, they represent a massive attack on average working women and families – especially on children who have no political voice of their own.

We pride ourselves on being moral people. So, is it moral to require low income families who were our middle class neighbors before this recession to have more children than they can afford to house, feed, clothe, educate and support, only for the state to say we’ll pay for those ill-supported children’s burials?

As a mother and grandmother, I find decisions like these occurring throughout the United States and in the Congress both amoral and disgusting.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE:

The House Republicans passed an outrageous “budget” bill that completely defunds Title X — which provides cancer screenings, HIV testing, and family planning to low-income women. Eliminating all funds for Title X, which provides health care services for 4.7 million women nationwide, prevents almost 1 million unintended pregnancies a year through contraception and family planning.

Planned Parenthood provides 720,000 breast exams and 730,000 pap tests annually at a low cost that literally saves the lives of American women.

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One Response

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  1. Hear! Hear! I’m appalled at the very idea. Unless politicians have some miracle plan up their collective sleeves to save the lives of all these children, born and unborn, a plan that will at least stabilize the quality of life for the parents, then let’s stick with what we have. Is cutting these items out of the budget just an experiment to see how it works? If so, it is a cruel experiment and heartless disregard for the dignity, livelihood and very life of these people.

    Sandra Bell Kirchman

    March 5, 2011 at 10:59 AM


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