Monday, October 15, 2012

The Ladyparts Vote

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: Vote like your lady parts depend on it.

Have you seen this one?

It appeared briefly on the Obama campaign's Tumblr feed, but was removed within a few hours. Cue the conservative outrage that women are being reduced to voting vaginas. Which is rich, coming from groups trying to legislate what we ladies do with our nethers.

Last week, Romney told the editors of the Des Moines Register that, "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." This means exactly nothing - I'm assuming the Governor is aware that the legislative branch has primary responsibility for drafting legislation.

Yes, he does claim to be contemplating some very specific abortion legislation.
I’ve said time and again that I’m a pro-life candidate and I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately is [sic] to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also I’ve indicated that I will reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy which keeps us from using foreign aid for abortions overseas.
And watching Reince Priebus trying to defend this to CNN's Soledad O'Brien is pretty funny.
But let's say that the difference between joking and lying is whether anyone believes you. Who believes that a President Romney would not pursue an anti-choice agenda? Such a kidder, that guy!

I don't think he's kidding about his intent to de-fund Planned Parenthood, though. Or his plan to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, aka Mexico City Policy, which bars funding for any overseas NGO that even mentions, much less performs abortion.

Anti-choice activists want to stop payments for gynecological or family planning care to Planned Parenthood and other women's healthcare non-profits because they believe that any money from the government frees up more private funding for abortion services. I do understand the fungibility argument. If my mom pays for my kid's art class, it's really a gift to me, since it frees up the tuition money for something else.

(Just like any support we give to Pakistan/Saudi Arabia/Egypt/Uganda allows their government to spend more money on schools that exclude girls and radicalize boys. Of course, no one is contemplating cutting foreign aid - only women's health is treated like a simplistic moral issue where no real world harm will come from taking a radical position.)

I guess it's just a question of priorities. If I pay for the art class myself, my family will still eat. If Planned Parenthood closes, and there's no replacement provider for pap smears, American women will die of cervical cancer. If the US government stands on principal and refuses to fund a program which provdes abortions, more women will go without birth control and give birth to children they cannot take care of.

Let's talk numbers. US International Family Planning Assistance is $610 million this year. According to the Guttmacher Institute, for every $10 million we cut:
  • 520,000 fewer women and couples would receive contraceptive services and supplies;
  • 150,000 more unintended pregnancies, including 70,000 more unplanned births, would occur;
  • 70,000 more abortions would take place (of which 50,000 would be unsafe);
  • 400 more maternal deaths would occur;
  • 50,000 more DALYs [healthy years of life] would be lost; and
  • 2,000 more children would lose their mothers.
Which all seems kind of bad, no? But those anti-choice politicians will certainly have made their point! Even if the numbers of abortions actually rise.

I will be voting like my lady parts depend on this election. Because they do. And I'll be sending today's $5 to Population Action International, which funds development programs based on positive outcomes, not politics and ideology.

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