by Charles Lemos, Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 02:13:46 PM EDT
After the meeting at White House sponsored by President Obama in an attempt to prevent the shutdown of the US government last night, Senate Majority Reid said that the agreement had been reached on every issue except a GOP plan to defund Planned Parenthood.
"The only thing left was women's health," Reid said. "That's a bridge too far," he said. "I am really concerned that this government is going to shutdown" over this issue.
"In the presence of the President of the United States, we went through those they -- the Republicans -- felt were most important," Reid added. "We went through them one by one. They were all resolved -- except the rider dealing with Planned Parenthood."
Just to be clear, the Republicans, now a fully owned subsidiary of the Christian Right, are prepared to shut down the US Government over funding an organization that provides subsidized health care ranging from cancer prevention to birth control. Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check notes the implications:
The Pence amendment, from which the rider originated, would cut off preventive health care for millions of women who need it the most by preventing Planned Parenthood health centers from providing birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and other preventive care to millions of women whose health care is covered by Medicaid and other public health coverage programs. Planned Parenthood serves three million people served in their health centers each year, and two million of those participate in some federal health program.
More than 90 percent of the health care provided by Planned Parenthood is preventive. Every year, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses carry out nearly one million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams. Planned Parenthood health centers also provide affordable birth control to nearly 2.5 million patients, and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV testing for women and men. The funding that PPFA receives from the federal government goes toward this basic care, and accounts for roughly one-third of Planned Parenthood’s $1 billion annual budget. These funds come from local, state and federal sources, but 90 percent come from Medicaid and other federal sources. Federal funds pay only for cancer screenings, birth control, family planning visits, annual exams, testing for HIV and other STIs, and other basic care.
Moreover, 73 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood provides primary and preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn. According to the Guttmacher Institute, six in ten patients who receive care at a family planning health center like Planned Parenthood consider it their main source of health care.
Earlier this week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told a summit of women's rights activists she believes Republicans are engaged in a war on women and women's rights.
"There is actually a war on women," Rep. Pelosi told the several hundred activists attending the Women Money Power Summit sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation. "Abortion is one issue but contraception and family planning and birth control are opposed by this crowd too. Understand what is at risk here," Pelosi said, referring to proposals promoted by the Tea Party controlled Republican caucus in the House.