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Here's the Cruel Truth Behind the Trump Administration's Attacks on Planned Parenthood — It's About Much More Than Abortion

July 23, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The Christian Right’s unending vendetta against Planned Parenthood is about much more than abortion.

Between defunding Planned Parenthood and vowing to pack the U.S. Supreme Court with far-right Antonin Scalia-ish “strict constructionist” justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have been persistent foes of reproductive freedom. Attacking Planned Parenthood has been an effective way for Trump to shore up his support among fundamentalist Christians and so-called “pro-life” voters, but Trump, like so many Republicans, fails to mention that abortion is only a small part of Planned Parenthood’s activities—which also include everything from contraception to cancer screenings.

The myth that federal U.S. tax dollars have been funding countless abortions over the years is exactly that: a myth. Back in 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment—which was sponsored by Republican Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois and has prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions except in rare cases (namely, rape or incest, or when a woman’s life is physically in danger). So even when federal tax dollars went to Planned Parenthood during the Bill Clinton or Barack Obama eras, it wasn’t for abortions—it was for contraception, cancer screening, PAP smears, breast exams, pregnancy tests, STD tests, and other health services.

In 2017, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that allowed states to withhold federal funds from organizations that perform abortions; Vice President Mike Pence was the tie-breaking vote, and Trump signed it into law. But as Danielle McNally pointed out in an April 17, 2017 article for Marie Claire, the bill wasn’t really an anti-abortion bill per se but was, in effect, an attack on women’s health services in general.

McNally asserted, “Here’s the real rub: because of the Hyde Amendment, no federal taxpayer dollars ever go toward abortions anyway. That means that if the states choose to stop giving Medicaid reimbursements or family planning grants to Planned Parenthood—which, thanks to the new bill, they can—they will be taking money away from preventive health care, birth control, pregnancy tests, and other women’s health services. Things like the 360,000 breast exams and …read more


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