I'm sorry to do this, because several relatives on my wife's side of the family live in Indiana. But I have to. Today I'm adding Indiana to my unofficially official list of right-wing crazy states.
Governor Mitch Daniels and the state legislature have decided to pull all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even though no federal money pays for abortions and Planned Parenthood's family planning services prevent many more abortions than the organization performs.
This illogic and general nastiness puts Indiana in the same league as states like Arizona, Texas, North Dakota and other parts of the country that make people in saner areas (like here in Oregon) wonder what the hell?
Along with making us Blue Staters glad that we don't live where the right of women to choose their health care providers is being attacked.
Actually, only four of the 28 Indiana clinics even offer abortions, and Daniels, a former Office of Management and Budget director under President George W. Bush, surely knows that according to federal law Medicaid funds can’t be used to pay for abortions anyhow.
What is the real meaning of the Republican assault – through state budgets – on funding for abortions? It is really an assault on women’s rights to choose health care providers, with Republicans taking aim at starving Planned Parenthood clinics by denying Medicaid recipients the ability to go to them for services.
Abortion is legal. No government money pays for abortions in Indiana. Only 2-3% of visits to Planned Parenthood clinics are abortion-related. Polls show that a majority of Americans favor federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
As Congress considers restrictions on and total elimination of federal funding for reproductive health serivces, two new public opinion polls released today indicate that the ultra-right lawmakers pushing for funding bans are far out of step with the majority of American voters.
In both polls, a majority of registered voters support federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and clearly oppose efforts to ban funding of the preventive health care services--such as lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections--provided by Planned Parenthood clinics.
Science blogger PZ Myers says it like it is: Republicans kill women. Pap tests and other preventive procedures provided by Planned Parenthood save lives. Thomas Levenson calculates that "three or four more women every year will die in Indiana unnecessarily – all for lack of access to the Planned Parenthood services that could have saved them."
NY Times columnist Gail Collins points out how hypocritical it is for Daniels and other Republicans to call for greater consumer choice in health care, then deny women the ability to choose where they want to obtain their preventive medical services.
In his capacity as deficit hawk, Daniels waxes eloquent on his conviction that if Americans have to pay more of their medical bills, they’ll make smart choices about whether that nagging headache really requires the expense of a CAT scan. Doubting that the individual patient can judge whether more tests or medical procedures are required, Daniels said, “demeans the dignity of people.”
However, women who are seeking an abortion have to be given not only the information they ask for, or the information the doctor thinks they need, but also faux facts that their local lawmakers want to force on them. And dignity be damned.
This is religious fundamentalism run amok. We're seeing efforts by the Christian American Taliban to undo women's rights that most Americans value greatly.
It's hard for me to believe that a majority of people in Indiana want to condemn three or four women a year to death by cervical cancer due to their state's defunding of Planned Parenthood clinics. Those women, though anonymous, will be just as dead as women stoned to death under Shariah law by the Islamic Taliban.
Next election, we'll see what kind of a state Indiana really is. Hopefully one day I'll be able to take it off my Crazy List.