The House voted as expected today to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The money didn’t pay for abortions, which are provided by Planned Parenthood in many locations. (CORRECTION: Not in Arkansas by surgical means, but websites indicate abortion-prompting medication is provided here.). But Republicans contended the money helped subsidize Planned Parenthood. The legislation won’t pass in the Senate, so there’s still a chance to save contraception and health screening services that Planned Parenthood provides.
If budgeting becomes a matter of punishing organizations for unpopular activities, even those not funded by federal money, Washington becomes very scary indeed. It is not a ridiculously far step from this to refusing federal money to businesses and agencies that employ people with political views House Republicans don’t like. Of course, here, it’s not just about abortion. Truth is, many Republicans don’t like contraception either.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that, of course, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross voted to prevent women from having pap smears, getting gynecological examinations, having breast cancer screenings, picking up birth control pills and otherwise getting an important range of services that might not otherwise be available or affordable to them.