On February 18th, the US House of Representatives voted to withdraw federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The withdraw amount in total, if it passes in the Senate, will reduce the organization’s budget by $363 million dollars.
The measure is part of a larger bill to cut government spending — strangely, among the programs which did not receive cuts that day was NASCAR, the largest sanctioning body of stock car racing in the United States. Yes, really.
A bill proposed by Minnesota Democratic Representative Betty McCollum would have stopped the Army’s annual $7 million sponsorship of NASCAR, paid for by taxpayer dollars. However, the Republican-controlled House voted overwhelmingly against it. Apparently health services for low-income, uninsured women is less of a basic human right than high speed car races.
After we all reemerged from our initial shock—and, of course, doing the “SPAM” chant a few times to help ease our panic—we all felt pretty furious.
Although political affiliations in the newsroom range from admittedly conservative to far, far leftist, we all agree that women should be allowed full control over their own bodies, which includes access to any kind of reproductive health care they need.
The Campanil Staff feels that cuts for Planned Parenthood in conjunction with the decision to continue to federally fund NASCAR is one of many examples showing the often mixed up priorities of our country’s government. The billions of dollars spent on the continuation of the “War on Terror” while the nation’s schools suffer enormous budget slashes comes to mind pretty quickly.
Some staff members feel that it is not the place of the government to fund private institutions in general. These staff members feel that it is worrisome to rely on government legislation and intervention to enact change, and instead feel that individuals and activists whol truly believe in Planned Parenthood’s cause should be charged with ensuring the organization’s continued existence.
It is unlikely that the House’s decision (if it passes in the Senate) will mean the immediate dissolution of the organization, as Planned Parenthood is also largely funded by donations. However, if the measure passes it will certainly make a severe impact on the services the organization is currently able to provide—services which are extremely valuable to women all over the country, including many of us here at the Campanil who regularly use those services.
The Campanil staff encourages all readers who consider themselves advocates for reproductive justice or accessible health care for the uninsured to speak out, get outside the gates, and do something to help Planned Parenthood.