Republican War On Women's Health Redux

September 30, 2011 3:16 pm ET — Meredith Kormes

Earlier this year, the Republican-led House launched an all-out attack on women's health. They voted to repeal and defund the Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate provisions women count on like ending insurance companies' discriminatory practices of charging women higher rates and considering pregnancy a pre-existing condition, as well as providing affordable access to preventive services and screenings. 

House Republicans also sponsored bills that would make any insurance plan that covers access to abortion unaffordable and narrow the definition of rape. They pushed a measure that says the federal government can't withhold funding from hospitals that refuse to perform abortions, even when the denial of services puts the mother's life in danger. And they sought to eliminate the Title X program that provides family planning services and preventive care to low-income women.

Now, with Americans saying that their top concerns are unemployment and the economy, House Republicans have decided to refocus their energy on attacking women's reproductive health again.

The House Appropriations Committee released on Thursday a draft of the fiscal year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill, which, aside from choking off funding for the Affordable Care Act, rolls back funding for Title X, defunds Planned Parenthood, cuts back on sexual education programs and redirects those funds into "abstinence-only" programs, and brings back the Stupak abortion ban for the health care law that could prevent private plans in the health care exchanges and employer-provided health insurance plans from offering abortion coverage.

This all comes two weeks after Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, initiated an investigation of Planned Parenthood's finance records, requesting paperwork going back 13 years. The Hill reported that "a spokeswoman for Energy and Commerce Republicans said the investigation is focused narrowly on ensuring that Planned Parenthood uses its federal funding appropriately." But ranking committee Democrats Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) "question the basis for the investigation and whether Planned Parenthood is being singled out as part of a Republican vendetta" against the organization.

Given the evidence, it seems like Republicans are just ideologically opposed to women being in control of their reproductive health. Ironic coming from a party that supposedly wants to keep the government out of people's lives.

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