The White House is floating the idea to journalists that they will issue an executive order to “clarify” the government’s position on the use of federal funds and abortion.
The White House secured Planned Parenthood’s and NARAL’s support for whatever hideous abortion language they wanted to include in the bill early in the game. NARAL’s Nancy Keenan is the anointed member of the choice community who gets to talk on their behalf to Valerie Jarrett at the White House. And Planned Parenthood was bought off with the money for Bernie Sanders’ clinics, which is funded to the tune of $11 billion.
The entire controversy arose because rather than work within existing federal programs, the White House wanted to follow the plan written by the insurance lobby in 2008 and create “exchanges” that would funnel money to private health insurance companies. Existing federal programs were already covered under Hyde — this new beast included both public and private entities, and anti-abortion groups wanted the issue addressed. As recently as three weeks ago the White House was contemplating an alternative bill that didn’t have this problem, but they’ve decided to double down on screwing abortion funding instead.
Women’s reproductive rights are being sacrificed for corporate profits. There’s no other way to say it.
AUL’s opposition to this sensical amendment is that some of those community centers could be Planned Parenthood Centers, which provide, yes, abortion services, but also other women’s reproductive services like birth control, pap smears, exams, treatment for STDs, etc. Laws already exist that prevent Planned Parenthood from using federal funds for abortion services. In other words, AUL is protesting more federal money from being used at PP Centers because in those same centers women are paying for their own abortions. Forget the other needs of women that have been marginalized by our current laws and health care system. The objective is to starve PP out of helping women at all, simply because they perform a legal service (abortion) in their clinics that AUL and others have religious objections to.
My problem with the Planned Parenthood leadership is that they make decisions all the time that feather their own political power in DC, but don’t support the people who really are putting their lives on the line in the clinics. You could make the argument that when they decided to agree to the Stupak/Nelson language that would seriously impact the ability of poor women to have abortions in exchange for a good chunk of that $11 billion, they were appropriately looking out for the financial well-being of those clinics — and the women who are treated there. I don’t buy it, but it’s a legitimate argument, as opposed to most of the incoherent claims being peddled by the apologist punditocracy these days.
But there isn’t any language that will make the Stupak block happy that will not cut off funding for Planned Parenthood clinics completely. And if Planned Parenthood is staying silent throughout this, they know that. But they won’t even say they’re scoring the bill.
Diana DeGette has apparently not signed off on the deal. But then again, she won’t release the names of the 41 members of Congress who signed a letter saying they’d vote against any health care bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose, so I don’t imagine she’ll put up much of a fight here either.
The White House has been working furiously to crush any pro-choice opposition to the bill’s passage. They’ve spared no efforts to make sure Democrats pass the worst blow to abortion rights in 35 years, and those who would have been screaming bloody murder if George Bush tried to do the same thing are gripped by a peculiar silence.
Update: DeGette signs off on the “Executive Order.”