Friday, August 17, 2007

Planned Parenthood and Tim Walberg

I had missed this vote, but, thankfully, others were paying attention.

Congressman Tim Walberg has done a very good job of casting himself as a "pro-life crusader," but rarely do we get a chance to see what that really means. We got that chance on HR 3043, the Health and Human Services Appropriations Act, a bill on which Congressman Walberg voted No.

Prior to final passage, Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) attempted to add an amendment:
Amendment No. 67 offered by Mr. Pence:

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __X. None of the funds made available under this Act shall be available to Planned Parenthood for any purpose under title X of the Public Health Services Act.

Planned Parenthood, of course, is a regular target of the religious right. Among other things, they provide abortion services which, though many have moral qualms, is a perfectly legal service. But that's not all Planned Parenthood provides. As Lori Lamerand from Planned Parenthood's Mid-Michigan Alliance explains:

His appalling vote would have wiped out financial assistance at our health center in Jackson for some of our most fundamental services, such as annual exams, cancer screening and birth control for our low-income patients.

Fortunately, the amendment failed. But it's beyond ironic that Rep. Walberg claims to be so concerned about abortion rates when he voted to restrict the very funds to help women prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion. In fact, it's unconscionable.

(Emphasis added.)

"Pro-life" Tim Walberg? Apparently not...

As is noted above, the Pence Amendment failed, 189 to 231. How many people could it have affected? From Planned Parenthood of Georgia:
Each year, more than five million women receive comprehensive family planning services at family planning clinics that are funded by Title X. These women are predominantly poor and uninsured -- two-thirds have incomes at or below the federal poverty level. Title X provides a critical safety net for these women, and without it, many women would go without the health care they need and deserve. For many of these women, Planned Parenthood is the only provider they know and trust.
Rather than try to offer my own thoughts, I'll go back to Lori Lamerand:
Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the positive impact that federal family-planning funds have on the lives of low-income women and families. Women and couples can plan strong, healthy families when they have access to affordable birth control and the information they need to make responsible decisions. This is just common sense -- but I guess Rep. Tim Walberg never got the memo.

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