Sometimes I think there's not much that can surprise me. But last week proved that theory wrong: the U.S. House of Representatives voted to prohibit federal funds for health care services provided by Planned Parenthood, and eliminate funding for all Title X family planning services, which are the sole source of health care for millions of low-income and uninsured women in this nation. And because, apparently, even that wasn't enough, they also voted to defund the federal agencies and personnel that are working to implement health reform, which is the greatest advance for women's health in a generation.
House leaders are willing to risk shutting down the federal government in order to advance their anti-woman, anti-reform agenda.
If these measures pass the Senate, unintended pregnancies in this country will skyrocket, fewer women will be screened for breast and cervical cancers and sexually transmitted infections, and women's health will suffer terribly because millions of women will lose their primary source of health care. Planned Parenthood clinics in communities across the country will be at risk for closing.
Representatives Jackie Speier and Gwen Moore helped remind us about what is at stake with these votes when they shared their personal stories. They drove home the stakes in this debate, and the human impact of what the House is trying to do. Their courage made it even more appalling to watch a majority of their colleagues callously vote to take away women's health care.
We are counting on our Senators and President Obama to block these short-sighted, dangerous cuts, and to stand strong for women and their families. Tell your Senators: hands off my health care (and family planning too)!