A New Year, A New Fight For Women’s Rights
It’s January 2017, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. For many, we’re looking at the new year as a clean slate and an opportunity to start over. For others, we’re looking to make the new year better than previous years.
For all, change is inevitable.
Starting with the President of the United States.
With his inauguration just around the corner, Donald Trump has been setting plans in motion as to what his first steps as President will be.
One of which is already becoming one of the most controversial of the year: Planned Parenthood.
While this certainly isn’t news to anyone that’s been watching the news, it’s still alarming that this is going to be one of the first topics up for discussion, especially given its controversial background.
According to Planned Parenthood, following the election of Donald Trump they prepared themselves for “a fight of a scale that we haven’t seen before.” And they were right in doing so.
This Thursday, Paul Ryan (House Speaker) confirmed the alleged plans in stating that Republicans were planning to take away federal funding from Planned Parenthood. This would be done as a part of a bill that Republicans are putting together to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
According to Paul Ryan, “Planned Parenthood legislation will be in our reconciliation bill.”
However, he did not explain any further than this.
This is not the first time that Republicans have attempted to repeal the bill. Republicans previously passed a reconciliation bill back in 2015 that was meant to repeal Obamacare (at least in part) and to defund Planned Parenthood.
This bill passed both houses of Congress but was ultimately vetoed by President Obama. This time around, we may see a different ending.
For one thing, senators are unable to filibuster the bill (as it’s part of the reconciliation process) and for another, the bill won’t need a majority to pass.
And the biggest difference of all is the President himself, as Trump is unlikely to veto this bill as his predecessor did before him, and that’s exactly what Republicans are expecting.
Because of this bill, it’s likely that Planned Parenthood will have to close operations in many parts of the country, as they are expected to lose almost half of their funding if this bill becomes a law.
President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards commented on this bill:
“Two and a half million women, men and young people come through our doors every year for life-saving care like cancer screenings, birth control, and STI and STD tests … and they cannot afford to have basic reproductive health care attacked.”
This is basically what the whole controversy comes down to — abortion.
Because Planned Parenthood offers abortion procedures, Republicans want to shut it down.
But the truth is, Planned Parenthood is so much more than that, and while that’s a large component, it isn’t everything.
Planned Parenthood provides low-income individuals healthcare that they can’t get elsewhere, and protects women’s reproductive rights on top of it all.
So whether or not individuals agree with abortion is irrelevant — Planned Parenthood is open regardless of everyone’s beliefs; it’s open because it’s necessary.
It’s so easy to discredit Planned Parenthood because it “takes a stance” on a controversial issue that you (and Republicans) may not agree with, but that’s looking through a very narrow, judgmental lens that doesn’t give you the full picture.
And Planned Parenthood has been attacked more than enough times, including the recent lawsuit in Texas involving Medicaid funds being withdrawn, which Planned Parenthood has referred to as a “politically motivated witch hunt.”
It’s been said time and time again and needs to be keep being said until somebody listens: women’s reproductive rights have no stakes on politics. None. What a woman does or does not do with her body is nobody’s business but her own, and taking away rights (such as abortion, which, like it or not, is still a right) is wrong.
To rant a little bit, it’s important that we remember the separation of church and state. Because pro-life activists are mostly (not entirely, but mostly) Christian’s, this is a huge conflict of interest.
Moving to the Americas was initially done in part for freedom of religion, and condemning women for practicing abortion is in direct violation of this. Just because you believe it is wrong does not make it so. It’s an individual choice, and one that you will hopefully never have to make.
But it’s still a choice, and women have the right to make it regardless of your religious beliefs.
So brace yourselves, as controversy is already beginning in 2017, and if Planned Parenthood has anything to say about it, this struggle is going to be far from easy for Republicans. And vice versa.
Who will win? Only time will tell.