Irresponsible pandering

House Republicans’ move to defund Planned Parenthood threatens the welfare of American women

Rep. Doug LaMalfa and the rest of his Republican compadres in the “Do Nothing Congress” are at it again. Last week, they pandered to the most ignorant members of their base by passing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood of America for a year. Predictably, LaMalfa was among the dozens of co-sponsors of the ridiculous bill.

This, of course, is in response to the deceptively edited undercover videos created by anti-abortion activists to discredit the good work of this 80-year-old nonprofit, and despite the fact that there is no evidence that the organization “sold baby parts,” as the propagandists would have the public believe. What’s more, no federal dollars—none, zero—pay for general abortion services. That’s illegal, in fact.

So what will defunding the organization do?

Well, for starters, it would eliminate family-planning education and basic reproductive health care for hundreds of thousands of Americans, primarily low-income and rural residents, those who rely on the organization for contraception, the very thing they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Then there are the other services Planned Parenthood provides to its patients—tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and cancer screenings, for example.

In short, the Republicans’ effort is an attack on women’s rights. All to secure votes from their radical base. What’s more, because Senate Democrats have enough votes to block the House bill and President Obama would otherwise veto it, if funding is included in a federal spending bill, certain Republican senators—namely presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul—appear willing to withhold votes and force another government shutdown. (Sept. 30 is the deadline to pass the budget.)

That’s just the sort of brinkmanship the ultra-conservatives have embraced in recent years and the reason for the party’s tarnished image. Enough of this irresponsible pandering. The welfare of American citizens is at stake.