The Republican War Against Women

To paraphrase the eminently quotable Barney Frank: the Republicans want smaller government -- small enough to fit into your uterus.

When the Republicans gained a majority with a 48-seat margin in the House of Representatives, they did so with the promise that they were planning to shrink the size of government, to reduce federal spending and to repeal health care.

Good job, so far, Republicans.

You've managed to do none of that.

In fact, your votes and initiatives lately prove that you're doing the exact opposite. You voted to repeal health care, but it was an empty, futile gesture which, had it managed to pass the Senate, would have increased the federal budget deficit by $230 billion, according to the CBO. And now, this week, you're resuming your decades-long effort to inject big government into personal health care decisions of millions of American women.

Let's rewind. In 2009, James O'Keefe orchestrated a deceitful undercover hidden-video scam that managed to disband and destroy ACORN, an organization that hasn't been indicted or convicted of anything. ACORN, despite the videos, had done nothing wrong, other than helping poor people -- a mortal trespass in the ass-backwards world of far-right conservatives who, like their self-proclaimed spiritual guide, Jesus of Nazareth, are evidently opposed to helping poor people.

The tapes, produced and financed by Andrew Breitbart and O'Keefe, were proved to be selectively edited and intentionally deceptive. They weren't the smoking gun against ACORN the two claimed. Breitbart recently admitted to the game, "So I'm going to have to stage a series of tricks to get the mainstream media to have to pay attention to it. So that's what I did. I admit it, I tricked you."

But ACORN is gone. And James O'Keefe's pimp-drag sting operation lives on.

This year, it was carried out by an anti-choice, anti-woman group called Live Action. The mission: to dismantle Planned Parenthood with the same tactics used against ACORN. So they dressed up one of their people like a pimp, equipped him with a hidden camera and tasked him with hunting down a variety of Planned Parenthood locations. The "pimp" apparently told Planned Parenthood workers that he was looking for STD treatment, birth control and possibly abortion services for his "underage prostitutes."

Two Planned Parenthood workers allegedly told the pimp how to circumvent parental notification laws. Stuart Schear, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood, said the worker's advice was "completely inconsistent with Planned Parenthood's guidelines." But this leaves a big "if." We don't know if the videos were selectively edited like the Breitbart videos had been. And there's no reason whatsoever to trust the veracity of this O'Keefe-inspired sting operation. After all, Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action has close ties with James O'Keefe and has even worked with O'Keefe to prank call Planned Parenthood locations. There's no reason why anyone should buy into a ruse with O'Keefe's slimy fingerprints all over it.

It's enough fuel for the Republicans, though, who are engaged in an all-out war against women. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has introduced an amendment to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even though none of those funds pay for abortion services, per the ban imposed by the Hyde Amendment. In reality, all of the money Pence is trying to eliminate pays for "cancer screenings, birth control, and other health care services for poor people."

Pence said on the floor of the House, "As a father of two teenage daughters, I see the video that came out this morning, I see the video that came out last week, and it's an outrage to me that employees of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country are facilitating the abuse of minor girls in this country. It should be a scandal to every American."

You know what's abusive? Mike Pence forcing teenage girls -- and all women -- to go without cancer screenings, treatment for STDs or proper birth control.

Radio talk show host Shannyn Moore tweeted yesterday that her breast cancer was diagnosed by Planned Parenthood. The grants to pay for the surgeries were written by Planned Parenthood. "They saved my life," Moore wrote.

Why are Mike Pence and the Republicans against women receiving cancer screenings and affordable oncological treatment?

Why is New Jersey governor Chris Christie against this? Christie vetoed a spending bill that would have funded non-abortion services for women via organizations including Planned Parenthood. Non-abortion services. Again, here's the gist of the bill: "The bill, proposed by Democrat lawmakers in New Jersey, would have included funding for Pap smears, counseling, and other non-abortion services provided by the non-profit organization." The bill would have cost the state just $1.1 million. A small price to pay for the health of lower-income and disadvantaged women in New Jersey.

We can only speculate about the externalized cost to New Jersey and the nation when women are prevented from receiving proper health care, like cancer screenings. The emergency room expenses, the lost wages, the lost productivity, the array of burdens to the economy when women go untreated -- say nothing of the lost lives and shattered families for which Christie, the so-called savior of the Republican Party, and his "family values" allies will be responsible.

Not every woman is fortunate enough to be a Pence daughter, or a Christie daughter who can easily afford the "best healthcare in the world" courtesy of the socialized insurance policies provided by the federal and New Jersey governments. As we've all learned, the Republicans believe that health care is a privilege, and not a right. A fringe benefit of having a wealthy and famous Dad. Screw everyone else.

And what if Planned Parenthood had advised that fake Live Action prostitute, regardless of age, to have an abortion? No federal funds would have been used for those services, and even if they had been (in the fiction of the scam), why do "small government conservatives" like Mike Pence and Chris Christie support big government telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies, even in the most brutal of circumstances? Abortion is still a constitutionally-protected right in America, like it or not. It's a tragic and awful procedure to be sure, but it's not Mike Pence's right to tell my daughter or your daughter what can and can't grow inside of her own body. And it's definitely not Mike Pence's right to tell women that they have no choice but to allow cancer to metastasize in their bodies.

So how about this? Instead of Republican-endorsed big government policies to ban abortions, how about big government policies aimed at preventing abortions? How about endorsing and releasing federal spending to increase childcare services for adoption? I'll go one better, how about federal funding for all pregnancies, along with post-natal child- and health care up to the age of 18, regardless of income? Make it infinitely easier for women to carry pregnancies to term.

And what about federally-funded education and birth control programs to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, and thus to help prevent unwanted abortions -- oh wait, Planned Parenthood is already tasked with preventing unwanted pregnancies and planning for, you know, parenthood. The Republicans are against that for some reason. They want to kill Planned Parenthood, just like they killed ACORN.

Imagine the number of abortions that will occur, perhaps in nightmarish facilities, because Planned Parenthood and other groups aren't around to provide education and birth control.

Imagine the abortions in the 60th trimester when back alley operations go wrong.

And imagine the abortions in the 160th trimester when women can't receive proper care for ovarian, cervical, breast or uterine cancer.

Paraphrasing another Barney Frank quote: the modern Republicans, including "rising stars" Mike Pence and Chris Christie, believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.