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I stand with Planned Parenthoodvia Wiki Commons

Why we should care about votes to defund Planned Parenthood

The Senate has officially showed they want to scrap free sexual healthcare proving to us all they don’t give a shit about women

The Senate has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), showing the world that they couldn’t give the most insignificant of fucks about providing women and the most disadvantaged access to healthcare. Of the total votes, 54 were against providing funding for Planned Parenthood, while 46 votes were cast in favour.

Thanks to the affordable healthcare of Planned Parenthood, there are fewer teen and unwanted pregnancies, fewer sexually transmitted infections and cancer can be detected early – regardless of a woman’s economic status.

Nothing that happens on the Senate floor this week should actually happen, thank fuck. Any bill that repeals Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood is clearly going to get vetoed by the president. So why are they bothering to do it? Well, mostly because symbolic votes are important. “The value is to let him know — the president — and others that there's a big division in this country, and a lot of us don't like it, and the American people don't like it,” Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama told NPR. Basically, occasions such as these give senators a chance to shout off about what they stand for.

While federal funding for PP is pretty safe while Obama’s around, it’s a terrifying look into a dystopian future that is very possible when he’s not. There are a lot of Republican lawmakers who’ve managed to introduce legislation in their home states to defund or limit access to abortion services. The pro-life ideals are worryingly widespread amongst those in power in the US.

You’d think that after the shooting at the Colorado Springs clinic by a white Christian terrorist killing three people, the pro-life drive would be slowed somewhat. Far from it. One Republican Senator, James Lankford of Oklahoma, even said on Wednesday, “Individuals who speak out for the life of children shouldn't suddenly be silenced by being screamed down because an insane person does a shooting in a clinic.”

What happens when women don’t have access to an abortion? We already know. They’re driven to extremes to care for themselves. Since the closure of at least half of the abortion clinics in Texas, between 100,000 and 240,000 women are reported to have attempted self-induced abortions. Women will always look for a way to terminate an unwanted pregnancy – taking away their right to a safe abortion doesn’t prevent that. It just makes it ridiculously dangerous. 

In contrast to male healthcare, anything to do with women’s health is constantly complicated by the religion and politics of men. Just look at the tampon tax, look at the lack of funding in research into endometriosis and female hormones.

But to defund Planned Parenthood is more terrifying than those things. It’s to set the clocks back by a century. It’s to disregard women entirely.