by Ethan Rome - Executive Director, Health Care for America Now
The House Republicans seem to be saying yes. Apparently, taking away women's access to reproductive health services is an important way to create jobs and get the economy moving again.
That may explain the urgency of Rep. Mike Pence's disgraceful legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and other providers by stripping them of Title X family-planning funding, since creating jobs is the stated priority of the Republicans in Congress. The Republicans also want to take away the new cost-savings and consumer protections in the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, because this too will apparently create jobs. This is the same GOP that wants to undermine the new law, including re-opening the abortion compromise that unambiguously maintained the prohibition against federal funds paying for abortions. This is all so important to the Republicans that they made one of the bills relating to this issue H.R. 3, among the very first taken up by the House in the 112th Congress. No wonder people are asking Speaker John Boehner, "When are the jobs?"
The GOP is gripped by two obsessions - rolling back the clock on women's health services and giving control of our health care back to the insurance companies. They want to take us back to the days when insurance companies could deny your care because you have a "pre-existing condition," drop you for getting sick and jack up your rates whenever they feel like it. They want to return to the time when being a woman was a pre-existing condition. They want to entirely eliminate family planning funds. When it comes to health care in general and women's health in particular, the Republicans don't have a legislative agenda to move forward - just a fixation on tearing things down and moving backwards.
Meanwhile, the Republicans aren't doing a single thing to create jobs. They're too busy trying to put the insurance companies back in charge of our health care. They're too busy going after vital health care institutions like Planned Parenthood. They're too busy trying to get between a woman and her doctor. That is especially galling because the insurance companies have made decisions about our health care for decades. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, those days are over. Now the House Republicans want to be the ones making those decisions for women. This is nothing short of a war on women and their health care. And it's happening in state capitals as well as Washington, D.C.
This hypocrisy is extreme, even by the standards the Republicans have set since taking control of the House. Take Speaker Boehner's less-than-authentic comments on the matter of the President's religion and birthplace. He has said again and again that he doesn't want to tell the American people "what to think" - or tell members of his own caucus to stop lying about these basic matters of fact. The Speaker's line is offensive - a transparent wink and a nod to those who continue spreading lies about President Obama to intentionally stoke the flames of the far right.
If Boehner is not willing to "tell people what to think" about something so important and basic as the legitimacy of the president of the United States, why is it okay to tell women and their doctors what to do?
Seriously, enough already.