Thursday night, Democratic Representative Jackie Speier of California delivered an extremely personal speech on the House floor. Although her words were poignant and powerful, they were words which she shouldn’t have had to speak… words which revealed personal information she ought not have felt the need to divulge. It speaks to the callous, unfeeling nature of politics, particularly Republican politics, that Rep. Speier felt she needed to bring a bit of humanity — and in this case, her own humanity — to the table on the fly, in order to make a political point.
Her emotional words on Republican Rep. Mike Pence’s plan to de-fund Planned Parenthood came after another Republican representative finished reading graphic passages from a controversial book by an anti-abortion activist. What she had to say ought to have shamed many in attendance…emPHAsis on ‘ought’.
According to TheHill Blog, Nancy Pelosi was standing in the aisle when Speier began to speak, but took a seat to listen. She wanted to give her full attentions to Speier, her fellow California Representive (how lucky is CA to have these two strong women representing them?). The floor quieted as Rep. Speier spoke clearly and firmly. With great emotion and forthrightness, Jackie Speier took the floor and said,
“I really planned to speak about something else. But the gentleman from New Jersey just put my stomach in knots. Because I’m one of those women he spoke about just now. I had a procedure at 17 weeks pregnant with a child who moved from the vagina into the cervix. And that procedure that you just described is a procedure that I endured.”
“I lost the baby. And for you to stand on this floor and suggest that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous.”
It’s worth watching.
We all ought be proud of any woman willing to put herself out there in such a public manner to fight for the rights of all women. We ought be proud, but, how shameful is it that such brave action is ever needed? Her private life, her private decisions, ought be exactly that…PRIVATE. And that is how it should be for ALL women.
The amendment in question, to be attached to a massive government spending bill, was proposed by Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), and would remove all federal funding (currently over $300 million) from Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood serves millions of clients yearly and provides a number of services to the public, only about 2% of which include abortions. If this amendment goes through, ALL funding by the federal government will be retracted, and women’s clinics which rely on federal aid will inevitably close, leaving many women who are in need of reproductive health and maternal/child health services bereft of viable options.
Rep. Spiers was not the only Democrat to speak out against the Planned Attack on Planned Parenthood. One after the other, Dems stood to use their five minutes of allotted speaking time (under the rules of the House) to defend the funding of women’s reproductive centers….while Republicans spun filth and lies in order to justify the defunding proposed by Pence.
Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican of Georgia and a physician, and Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat of Wisconsin, had a particularly tense exchange.
Broun said, “We treat green turtle eggs better than we treat children in the womb.” He also argued that because most clinics are in ethnic neighborhoods “more black babies are killed” by Planned Parenthood.
Moore spoke next, countering: “I know all about black babies. I’ve had three of them. I had the first one at the ripe old age of 18.” Moore said that Republican public policy has “utter contempt for poor women and poor children.”
Rep. Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts also spoke in defense of Planned Parenthood. Although he is a ‘Pro-Life Democrat’ (big tent, anyone?) and is vocally anti-abortion, he believes in the good works of Planned Parenthood and in their efforts to PREVENT pregnancy through education.
“I’m a pro-life Democrat,” Lynch said. “We used to agree that the best way to decrease abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancy.”
The House spent almost three hours
. . .debating Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) amendment to strip $327 million from Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, raising concerns from some Democrats that the measure may be unconstitutional. Pence’s measure would specifically bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any Title X funds, even though the Republican continuing resolution (CR) would eliminate the entire Title X program.
Democrats argued that defunding Planned Parenthood would significantly hamper access to health care for lower-income Americans who depend on the organization for primary care services and insisted that the existing prohibitions against abortion funding already ensure that that taxpayer dollars don’t pay for abortions.
Democratic Rep Jerrold Nadler (NY) even argued that the amendment was unconstitutional.
He quoted from the Constitution “in making his point that the Pence amendment would amount to a ‘bill of attainder’ because it would seek to punish Planned Parenthood for conducting activities that supporters of the measure disapprove of” . . .
Planned Parenthood is already banned from the usage of Federal dollars for abortions. The efforts to defund the women’s reproductive centers has been spearheaded by Rep. Mike Pence, but the other Republican Reps (and, I’m disgusted to say, a handful of Dems as well) have backed him en masse. They are bound and determined to destroy what has been, quite literally, a life saving program for untold numbers of women. Flat out lies have been touted on the Floor (I know, nothing new). But, statements that any monies to such a women’s reproductive center are a direct funding of abortion and assertions of Planned Parenthood’s complicity if the cover up of statutory rape are LIES. LIES….plain and simple.
They play fast and loose with the rights of women, cavalier in their efforts to shut down women’s reproductive clinics coast to coast. Defunding Planned Parenthood is NOT defunding abortions…those are already held exempt from Federal dollars…what they are defunding is the other 98% of what Planned Parenthood provides. Contraception, STD testing and treatment, cancer testing and screening, and pregnancy/prenatal/midlife/infertility care. These clinics take care of women…take care of children…and the Republicans want to pull 1/3 of their funding based on politics and lies. Fuckers.
Well, at least we men are taken care of. We know that once we are old(er) our penises will be well cared for. Federal dollars fund Medicare/
Medicaid and through them we can get Viagra…or, if that is not enough to get the blood pumpin’ proper, we can get a penile pump…or, last resort (way last resort I assure you) we can have a penile prosthesis. Yup, Federal dollars cannot fund the care of women before/during/after pregnancy…but, those dollars sure can be used to help us impregnate ’em! Fucking ridiculous.
It never ceases to amaze me when men decide they have a right to decide what is best for a woman’s body/mind. When men decide that they have a right to pick and choose what rights a woman ought have. The way I see it, we are welcome to our opinions…but, those opinions have naught to do with a woman’s right to choose what is best for her body and her mind. I have an opinion, and it only really matters to one woman…but, even with her, my opinion would NEVER be what determines/makes her decision…it is, and always will be, HER CHOICE. And, if I cannot, should not, make such a decision for my own wife…how in the bloody hell should I have control over that decision for any other woman? Really does fucking disgust me to see crowds of people screaming at women that they ought not have a choice…but it near makes me blind with rage when I see the men in the crowd. Buncha limpdicked cowards.
What is even more horrifying, imo, is how views have changed across the spectrum in the past couple of decades. For whatever reason, and I truly do not know the reason, support for a woman’s right to choose has declined in a rather shocking manner (again, imo).
I think what surprises me the most is how far it has declined amongst young women. The very ones that I would have thought to be the biggest and most vocal supporters.
Somehow, support is slipping and we need to figure out why…and fix it. A woman’s right to choose ought not be something we are still fighting over in the 21st century. It is shameful that it is still an issue to be ‘fought’ over and used as a wedge (it is THE wedge issue, imo) by our politicians. And it is shameful that, because 2% of the services they provide are abortion related…Planned Parenthood will likely be defunded by the House of Representatives.
~~It should be noted that in the time it took me to pull together this diary, the cowardly bastards in the House…mostly Republicans…with the help of some really sleazy Democrats… passed the amendment to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood.~~
Rep. Jackie Speier ought be given a roaring round of applause and the heartfelt thanks from women nationwide. She was willing to share of herself in a very public manner…it took courage and and nerve and I hope her efforts are remembered. I do hope that some of those fighting for defunding had the good sense to be ashamed…I just highly doubt it. Bunch of fucking asshats. I wish I could have been there…decorum would have gone right out the window and I would have cheered her. Though, truth be told, had I really been there, decorum would have long since gone out the window as I explained (quite politely, I’m sure) to Rep.Pence and the rest of his cronies what they could do with his bill, and where they could store it for safe keeping. So, three Moose cheers for Rep. Speier…her constituents must be a proud lot. I know I am.
Lastly, since the amendment has now passed…and it will come up again in the Senate, please please please call your Senators. Tell them of the many many women and children Planned Parenthood has assisted over the years…tell them to continue to fund the women’s reproductive clinics coast to coast…ask them to vote to protect and care for women. Ask them to stand up for women and vote Rep.
Penis’s Pence’s amendment out of the spending bill.
It should not be a legal fight…but it is.
Fight for a woman’s right to choose.
Fight for women’s rights, period.
Fight the good fight.