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GOP Budget Cuts and the Pro-Life Lie

Palin: 5-time hero; Rose: promising birthing hips

Heroes among us? Wow!

That’s right. Fucking heroes. Reality television star Sarah Palin and freshman scheister Lila Rose are teaming up as speakers at an event entitled “Heroes Among Us,” hosted by the anti-abortion group Heroic Media. As you can see, the event is a “benefit dinner to celebrate the heroism of motherhood!” Which, of course, leads to the burning question…

What the hell is so heroic about being a mother?? But before I attempt to answer that, let’s take a look at how Congressional Republicans feel about mothers and children.

Ah, the culture wars…

If Republicans feel so strongly about the preciousness of life, why does the evidence – meaning the legislation that they have pushed – consistently suggest otherwise?

For instance, the Republicans’ proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 makes significant cuts to programs that benefit low-income children and expectant mothers:

• $317 million from a program that provides comprehensive family planning (Title X) and related preventive health services to the public, with a focus on low-income families; this includes cutting all federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood to support cancer screenings and other women’s health care

$1.1 billion from community health centers that provide primary care services to individuals with limited financial resources, about a third of whom are children

Over $1 billion from Head Start, a program that provides grants to local agencies to operate comprehensive child development services for low-income children and families, with a special focus on early reading and math; this equates to the removal of 157,000 children from the program (218,000 counting the 61,000 who will be lost from the expiring Recovery Act) and the closing of 16,000 Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms

$50 million from Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, a program giving low-income pregnant women, mothers and their children access to health care

$758 million (6%) from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that provides low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and children with nutritious foods, nutrition education, and health services

$49 million from a program that offers mentors to children with incarcerated parents

• $110 million from a program aimed at reducing teen pregnancy

And on and on. Not to mention the myriad programs facing budgets slashes that affect children indirectly, such as public housing, the Poison Control Center (over half of all poison exposures last year involved children under six), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Pell Grants, to name a few.

??In the words of Rev. Jim Wallis, “a budget is a moral document.” I agree.

Now, I get it: the Republican party is the party of individual responsibility, and most of these programs can be dismissed as nanny-state measures. And to be honest I think this is a valid argument, on its surface; however, their policy of corporate welfare and their recent fight to the death for tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans just annihilates any shred of credibility they may have had.

Back on the campaign stump last year, the Republicans produced their Pledge to America, a document outlining in a very campaign-y way all of the dreams they would make come true if we voted them into the majority. One of these promises was to restrict abortion access. Planned Parenthood has received federal funding for all of the women’s health services it provides since 1970 – all except abortions, which account for a whopping 3% of these services.

Republicans have taken a particularly public stance against Planned Parenthood. The latest trend in the movement to defund legitimate organizations like ACORN and NPR are crudely taped “sting” operations designed and doctored to appear incriminating – à la James O’Keefe. This was the nature of Live Action’s Lila Rose’s attack on Planned Parenthood last month.

The fact is, defunding Planned Parenthood means less women will have access to contraception, thus increasing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and ultimately increasing the number of abortions performed.

Details, details…

So why would the Republicans do this – if common sense tells you that defunding Planned Parenthood will result in an increase in abortions? Because, quite simply, it kills two birds with one stone. Defunding Planned Parenthood looks good to the Bible-thumping half of their base – regardless of the facts – while making yet another slash to the budget appeases the Tea Party half.

Look, here’s the thing: being against family planning is not consistent with being pro-life. Nor is it consistent with being pro-choice. The only way to describe it is irresponsible and just…terrible.

Now, back to those heroes…

Oh, right – they aren’t heroes. Encouraging women to have babies they can’t support and then refusing to provide any help is immoral. Period.

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