In a way, you have to feel sorry for the Republican Party these days. The party of wedge issues is, well, running out of wedges (see “Are Republican ‘Wedge Issues’ Being Whittled Down?) With gay rights no longer being one of their top two hot button issues this election cycle (thanks to the Supremes) what’s left is the tried and true abortion wedge.
The GOP’s current love affair with defunding Planned Parenthood is just a cynical way to put the abortion wedge front and center. In a TV ad running this week in Iowa, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz not only promises to defund Planned Parenthood, but to also prosecute the health care provider!
Now, it is likely you have heard there exists a law banning the use of federal money for abortions. What you might not know is that federal dollars are not used to pay for abortions at Planned Parenthood! Instead, the organization uses money from other sources — private donors, foundations and fees — to fund its abortion services.
You might also be interested in knowing abortions represent only 3% of the total services provided by Planned Parenthood. That is a fact. But in today’s crazy conservative world, facts don’t matter (see “What Happened To The Belief In Facts?)
Sadly, the truth will not stop right-wing media from promoting the myth that federal money is being used for abortions at Planned Parenthood. They will trumpet this lie in order to prop up Republicans’ attempt to defund the women’s health organization, despite the fact that it’s been unlawful for federal money to pay for abortions for nearly 40 years.
The only Republican presidential candidate to talk about all the other valuable services Planned Parenthood provides women is Donald Trump. Judging from the way nothing he says or does seems to adversely affect his poll numbers, it is actually a smart strategy on Trump’s part to separate himself from all the other defund wacko birds (thanks Sen. McCain.)
The attempt to make the defunding of Planned Parenthood a wedge issue shows the desperation of the GOP. Just like the conservatives were on the wrong side of the gay marriage issue, they are on the wrong side of this fake “defunding of abortion” controversy.
Over fifty percent of voters are women. Many get “non-abortion” services through Planned Parenthood (cancer screenings, contraceptives, HIV testing, etc.). A good number of those women are swing voters. Except for an ever-shrinking Evangelical, conservative base, many (both men and women) will see this stunt for want it is and rightfully abandon this sinking ship that is today’s GOP (unless the “sane” Trump becomes the Republican nominee!)
In a July 29 Washington Post op-ed, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, noted that “one in five women has relied on Planned Parenthood for health care in her lifetime.”
Republicans just aren’t that good at numbers.
Update (August, 19, 2015) Republicans may need to give some serious thought to making the defunding of Planned Parenthood a 2016 wedge issue. Most Americans support federal funding for the women’s healthcare provider. Click here.
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