When they were supposed to be fixing the deficit, the anti-abortion Republicans leading the House spent my and your tax dollars debating and passing Rep. Mike Pence's (R-IN) "We Hate Colored, Low-Income Vaginas, Low-Cost Health Care, Non-Married Sex and Anything Else You People Ceme Up With," "Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act."
On the off chance that the Senate follows suit, this bill would effectively gut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. While dirty tricksters like Live Action's Lila Rose paint Planned Parenthood as an illicit abortion pusher, the organization operates 800 health centers that provide low-cost and free family planning services (read condoms and birth control pills), H.I.V. counseling, STD treatment, cancer screenings, and sex ed to five million men, women and teens nationwide. Most clients are poor; many are of color.
That's why it was so curious that Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) dragged out the Planned-Parenthood-as-eugenics-promoter argument last night:
"...The more we pour money [into] this organization, the more abortions they're going to try to promote and provide. And, in fact, Planned Parenthood was founded on the philosophy of eugenics, and they're still carrying out that philosophy. There are more black babies killed proportionately than there are white babies or any other colored babies."
Actually it wasn't curious. Alluding to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's alleged support of eugenics in the early 1900s is shady because it plays on black folks' legitimate fears about racism in the reproductive health rights movement. (Check Harriet A. Washington's "Medical Apartheid" for more on that.)
Thank God Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), a black woman who had an unplanned pregnancy when she was 18 and broke as hell, was there to put a human face on the fiction Broun pumps with his crocodile tears.
Watch her very personal, powerful remarks above. Or check out some of her words, which I (rush) transcribed, cut for space, and bolded for emphasis:
"I would plead with my colleagues to reject the Pence Amendment and not to defund Planned Parenthood. And I mean that as a double entendre to not defund the ability of women to plan parenthood.
I know of what the previous speaker, the gentleman, referred, to all those well-meaning people who want to speak about the value of life and not fund contraceptives and not make abortion, which is the law of the land, available if people chose that: I am really touched by the passion of the opposite, to want to save black babies. I can tell you I know a lot about having black babies. I've had three of them. And I had my first one when I was 18 years old--at the ripe old age of 18, an unplanned pregnancy.
I just want to tell you what it's like not to have planned parenthood. ... You have to give your kids ramen noodles at the end of the month to fill up their little bellies so they won't cry. You have to give them mayonnaise sandwiches. They get very few fruits and vegetables because they're expensive. It subjects children to low educational attainment because of the ravages of poverty.
You know one of the biggest problems that school districts have in educating some of these poor black children who are unplanned is that they're mobile. They're constantly moving because they can't pay the rent. And yes, I heard some of you talk about sexual predators. It subjects them to sexual predators as when you try to go out and do a little work you have to leave your kids with just anybody because you don't have $800 to $1,200 a month for childcare. And let me tell you, you know the public policy has treated poor children and women who have not had the benefit of planned parenthood with utter contempt.
These same children--it's been very difficult to get them health insurance through CHIPS. When you got to the grocery store to get them a little birthday cake with your food stamps, everyone stares with you in contempt. And yes, on a bipartisan basis, Democrats and Republicans ended the entitlement Aid to Families with Dependent Children. So when we have a recession like we have now, women who are alone typically, poor, of color, with these poor black children have no money, go months and months and months with little or nothing to sustain themselves.
And you know, I remember that the first item on the You Cut website was to cut Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. And let me tell you what it does to women who cannot plan their parenthood: It derails their ability to complete education and training so they can get a job. The TANF is very harsh. It won't even let women complete high school diplomas. It sends them into workfare programs in very low wage service industries, often in jobs without unemployment benefits, and of course they're treated with contempt and disdain when they apply for any aid. They're humiliated. And so I would beg my colleagues, I would beg them to not defund Planned Parenthood. Planned parenthood is healthy for women, it's healthy for children and it's healthy for our society."