Rep. Mike Pence (R - IN) vehemently opposes abortions. It has been pointed out that anti-choice, anti-abortion legislation and rhetoric are misogynistic: they slut shame (police women's consensual sexual activity and women's sexual interests, disproportionately more than men's); tell women that our lives already in progress are worth less than the potential lives of any and all of our possible offspring, that is to say, reduce our existence to breeding purposes; and they are indicative and representative of women's overall standing in a society as a socially minority population (which is why all women, regardless of individual likelihood, ability, or inability to get pregnant, get to speak on this matter, while men generally need to fall back, as men's minds and bodies are not the recipients of nearly the same level of disrespect). It has been pointed out that calling anti-choice, anti-abortion legislation and rhetoric "pro-life" is a farce unless you think of existing women's lives as disposable, and it has been pointed out that "pro-life" persons frequently support, say, the death penalty. Maybe Pence did not get the memo; maybe he got it and chose to ignore it. H.R.217 went to the House of Representatives January 7 and has sat around doing nothing since.
H. R. 217
To amend title X of the Public Health Service Act to prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the "Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act".
PROHIBITION.—The Secretary shall not provide any assistance under this title to an entity unless the entity certifies that, during the period of such assistance, the entity will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion.
—The PDF of H.R.217 via The U.S Government Printing Office. An HTML version is available through the Library of Congress's THOMAS Web site.
It seems Pence was getting impatient with H.R.217, because he came up with the idea of tacking the meat of his bill onto H.R.1: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011/Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2011. Pence's proposed amendment targeted Planned Parenthood, as Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the nation. Regardless of whether or not you think Planned Parenthood should have been able to use its federal assistance to fund abortions, in accordance with federal law, Planned Parenthood has never used its federal assistance to fund abortions. The funds Planned Parenthood has received have gone to non-abortion reproductive and sexual health services such as STI/STD testing and cancer screening (see Health Info & Services for more). The proposed amendment would cut off all federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D - CA) and Gwen Moore (D - WI) took issue. Watch Speier speak here about shaming in anti-choice legislation and her abortion and Moore speak here about classism and racism, via Minority Leader of the House Pelosi's channel. (Moore: "I am really touched by the passion of, uh, the opposite [anti-choice persons], you know, to wanna save black babies.")
The House of Representatives approved Amendment 11 to H.R.1: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011/Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2011, referred to as the Pence Amendment or the Anti-Planned Parenthood Amendment, today. From here it goes to the Senate. It is not law yet.
If you have gotten this far and are still capable of rational thought and speaking or writing in a respectful voice, please call (preferable) your representatives and senators or e-mail them (next-preferable). Incapable of rational thought or speaking or writing in a respectful voice? Me too! It has taken me a few hours to write this damn entry, and I'm still not sure it makes sense. Planned Parenthood has drafted an "Open Letter to Congress," which you can read and sign here. I believe any US resident can fill it out and send it. If you aren't a US resident, please try and let me know if it goes through?