There are a few things that make my blood boil; one being the stupidity of narrow-minded buffoons. Many such people also go by the title Senator, Representative, Governor or Presidential Candidate and associate themselves with the Republican Party. In this instance, I am specifically referring to the stupidity of such buffoons who hail from the Great State of Texas; my home state, I'm sorry to say.
This issue should not be politically motivated; it is. This issue certainly should not be religiously motivated; it most certainly is. This issue should be about health and humanity; sadly, it is not.
Perhaps I've missed something, but the last time I checked abortions were still legal. And yet, in Texas and other states run by narrow-minded fools, medical clinics serving women, most of which are not performing abortions, are losing funding by the millions and being forced to close all in the name of "Pro-Life."
Guilty By Association
A great number of these clinics are Planned Parenthood. These clinics screen for breast cancer and cervical cancer, perform pap smears, counsel adolescents about abstinence and provide infertility guidance, prescribe free birth control pills, and other routine care; they do not perform abortions. In Texas, clinics that perform abortions are already barred from collecting government funding.
The decision to take away funding is based purely on the fact that the conservative base is so obsessed with abortions. So, the right wing politicians continue to focus on ways to block women from access to an abortion, even if it means leaving hundreds of thousands of women without medical care for health-related issues that have nothing to do with abortions; and regardless of the fact that abortions are still legal procedures.
In a New York Times article, Wayne Christian, a Republican state representative for District 9 in East Texas, is quoted as saying, "I don't think anybody is against providing health care for women. What we're opposed to are abortions...Planned Parenthood is the main organization that does abortions. So we kind of blend being anti-abortion with being anti-Planned Parenthood."
In essence, what Mr. Christian is saying is that because they are waging a moral war against abortions, clinics closing and thousands of women being left without medical care is just collateral damage that can't be helped.
We aren't talking about a non-profit, pro-life organization taking aim at clinics or organizations that perform abortions; we're talking about elected officials of the Texas State Legislature. But I guess this most recent move shouldn't be surprising.
Since the historic 1973 Texas case of Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, the Texas legislature has passed a number of laws regarding abortions in order to make it as difficult as possible to obtain this legal procedure. But now they are trying to hit clinics that serve low-income residents where it hurts most; their budgets.
Losing Federal Funding
On Friday, the U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Texas law cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood because some of the clinics in that network perform abortions violates federal Medicaid regulations that require women to be allowed to choose where they go for health care. Sec. Sebelius noted that Texas had been warned of the repercussions of passing this law and enforcing it. The law goes into effect this week and the federal funding for the Women's Health Program will now be withheld from Texas based on this law.
At this time, the federal government pays 90% of the cost of this Medicaid-financed program in Texas that aids about 130,000 women. Gov. Perry's office issued a statement saying that the state will somehow cover the amount lost by the federal government to enable women to get care, but was not specific about which clinics or type of care would qualify for such funding.
If the conservative base has it their way, it's going to get worse for these clinics that largely rely on government funding to serve underprivileged women. Republicans across the country are targeting Title X.
Title X is where most of the federal funding for family planning comes from. These funds provide cervical and breast cancer screening, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, adolescent abstinence counseling, infertility counseling and other services. Title X does not fund abortions and only a small part of it covers birth control costs.
Of the $300 million Title X budget, Planned Parenthood gets about a quarter of it. The remaining three-quarters of it goes to clinics, community health centers, hospitals and state agencies across the country. If Title X is done away with, it will mean more closings of clinics that help women who have few resources for health care.
All of this in the name of eliminating abortions because some perceive it to be a moral wrong that should be policed by the government.
It's worth mentioning that over the years, the number of abortions across the nation have been decreasing for years, including those in Texas. It's also worth noting that according to the Center for Disease Control's reports, the highest percentage of reported abortions were performed on white women under 25.
In Texas, the median age of women getting abortions is 22 with 34.2% of the total number of women between 15-44 having abortions in Texas being white women and 36.3% being Hispanic, according to a report from 2006.
Let me clarify that I am not in favor of abortions; I know no one who is. What I am in favor of is the right for each person to decide for himself or herself what is the best path to take based on the medical options available and one's personal set of beliefs and circumstances.
I also want to be clear that I am a Christian, and I live my life based on Biblical principles and prayer, but I am also open-minded, a free thinker; some might say liberal in my thinking. This means I view the whole picture, not a small, fractured piece of the picture before making a decision.
Where the elected Texas officials have erred is allowing their personal and religious beliefs to interfere with simply aiding people who need help. In the name of Christianity and righteousness, the leaders in Texas are leaving vulnerable women exposed and without medical care.
To those who will not and cannot separate church from state, I leave you with this question to ponder: What Would Jesus Do?
I know the answer to this question. Jesus neither feared nor despised the poor, the wretched, the criminals, the misguided or the despicable; instead Jesus helped and loved all people of all backgrounds and social classes; even politicians.
I apologize if any conservative toes were stepped on, but this is my opinion and my platform for presenting my opinion. Over and out...