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Thursday, October 27, 2016

It’s nice to already know the Republicans’ strategy as they lurch toward the long and bumpy road to someone else’s presidency. Removes the mystery.

Their new mantra, in GOP-speak: So long, ladies.

I’ll give them this: They’re no longer pretending to care about us. Yay for them for ending that charade. They don’t want us, and apparently they’ve decided they don’t need us. Or, as Jeb Bush put it on Tuesday: “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

Later, he said he misspoke — into the microphone, I took that to mean.

Last month, a fake group with a fake name released hidden-camera video it claimed showed Planned Parenthood illegally selling tissue from aborted fetuses. This was a lie. Nonetheless, Republicans heralded it as their version of proof that (a) women cannot be trusted to make decisions about their own health care, (b) Planned Parenthood — cue Star Wars‘ “Imperial March” — is the Evil Empire and (c) this is what happens when you give women the vote.

Nobody has said the last one — yet — but just remember you heard it here first when they do.

When I say Republicans, by the way, I don’t mean all you sensible conservatives out there who are shaking your heads at this latest round of right-wing extremism. I mean the right-wing extremists who claim they’re speaking for you. That must get so old.

This week, Senate Republicans tried and failed to defund Planned Parenthood, but their tent is still standing. As the Washington Post‘s Mike DeBonis reported, the show will go on:

“Defunding Planned Parenthood is now a centerpiece of the Republican agenda going into the summer congressional recess, and some hardliners have said they are willing to force a government shutdown in October if federal support for the group is not curtailed.”

Federal law already prevents Planned Parenthood from using federal money for abortions, which constitute a slim 3 percent of all that it does to help families. Most of its federal money is reimbursement for medical services to low-income women. There’s a tried and true tactic: Let’s target those least likely to fight for themselves.

In May, Gallup asked Americans to respond with either “morally acceptable” or “morally unacceptable” to this question: “How about medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos?”

Sixty-four percent said it was morally acceptable. Every year since 2002, the majority of Americans have said the same thing.

Not coincidentally, Republicans aren’t talking about the research with fetal tissue collected with patients’ permission at Planned Parenthood. It’s saving lives, including those of babies, and giving hope to millions of people with devastating diseases.

Most of us, regardless of our politics, are grateful for this research that helped produce vaccines against chickenpox, rubella, shingles, rabies and hepatitis A.

We’re also keen on the Harvard Stem Cell Institute’s report last year that researchers “found that fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson’s Disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years.”

Think of the last 14 years of your life, or of someone you love. That was a whole lot of living, wasn’t it?

Republicans don’t talk about any of this because connecting the dots between Planned Parenthood and this medical research is definitely not a chapter that fits into their fiction. Nor do they mention that research on fetuses from miscarriages and abortions has been going on since the 1930s.

I can hear it from here: “What? Abortions in the 1930s?”

Or to quote from Sandra Boynton’s “Moo Baa La La La,” my baby granddaughter’s favorite cardboard book (this week), “‘No, no,’ you say, ‘that isn’t right.'”

Well, yes it is, but Republicans lie about it both day and night.

Katha Pollitt, in her well-researched book titled Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, explains that, for the longest time, politicians didn’t care about abortion. Then women started to matter, politically and economically. For this, we had to pay.

“As long as women were firmly ensconced in the family as wives and mothers with few rights and little social power,” she writes, “abortion was legal or tolerated as a way to save unmarried daughters from shame, limit family size, and protect exhausted mothers from the rigors of yet more pregnancies and births. … But once middle-class white women began to emancipate themselves and get involved in public and political life … abortion took on its modern meaning of self-determination and independence and active decision making.”

Here’s a question: Why do we keep casting women’s health care as a “women’s issue”?

Don’t all the men who love women also want them to be healthy? Don’t most children benefit if their mothers are, you know, alive? Isn’t the entire country better off if our womenfolk are strong and sturdy?

So many questions, so little interest.

Or so they hope.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and an essayist for Parade magazine. She is the author of two books, including …and His Lovely Wife, which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz ([email protected]) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Photo: Protesters gather outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Vista, California August 3, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

  • Dominick Vila

    The greatest irony is that a large percentage of The Planned Parenthood attacks are women. I doubt the mind the guidance and help that organization offers to women, especially to poor women, their hatred is influenced strictly on their pro-life, or more accurately, pro-birth beliefs. I have female relatives whose single most important element in their decision to vote is abortion. I don’t have a problem with our efforts to characterize the overt attacks against women rights as attacks on women’s health, but make no mistake, many women see it the opposite way, and see our position on this issue as a reason to vote Republican.

    • latebloomingrandma

      Where I live, many people are strict one issue voters: what is the candidates standing on being anti-abortion. I’ve heard that a “solution” to shutting down PP is to give he money to regional health clinics to pick up the slack. Under the ACA, we may see a proliferation of comprehensive health care clinics. However, with the passage of the ACA, from the pulpit, I heard that these clinics are evil bacause thy will promote abortions. Can;t win.

      • Life of A Weirdo

        And I don’t think people realize the struggle to fill the void closing PP will create. It’s not as easy as ‘poof’ here’s a new clinic. If it were, we wouldn’t have needed PP to exist in the first place.

      • Dominick Vila

        Unambiguous language was introduced in the ACA, before that legislation was signed, prohibiting funding abortion or extending benefits to illegal immigrants. Needless to say, that will not stop Republicans from claiming things that do not exist. It kind of reminds me of the claims that an international agreement that prohibits the development of nuclear weapons by Iran will allow Iran to build nuclear weapons!

  • Life of A Weirdo

    The right has folks convinced that…
    1. 95% of PP is abortions,
    2. that despite being a target for over 70 years and the fact no on has proven they violate the Hyde Amendment by using taxpayer money for abortions and even most recently in IN to be cleared of any wrong doing regarding fetal tissue they use all their money for abortion services, 3. that is no inconvenience or impact to the low income clients to close the clinics,
    4. that without the clinics and their services there will be an uptick in pregnancies, STI’s, etc (gee, check out the Scott County, KY clinics closure impact) or that
    5. if those slutty women who use PP would just put an aspirin between their knees, all would be good…
    6. that ACA mandated birth control equates to availability of service providers.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    When I visited Montana, I found one very comprehensive healthcare method: local full service clnics. When you consider that a state the size of Montana with up to 100 miles between doctors offices and hospitals can come up with this type of convenience, you see why so many hospitals today have become mini corporations for Big Insurance.

    The reality is that these smaller facilities actually do maintain good standards of healthcare. Not so in huge cities where corporations have their meat hooks into every doctors’ office or hospital.

    As for women and Planned Parenthood. If these women doing all the protesting are so hot for other women to be saddled with babies, they can adopt. But, they won’t.

    An MRS degree is their only validation of their gender. They are financially dependent women who have NO idea what being financially independent or having a successful career is. They believe sitting home and making babies IS the ONLY career.

  • MarkM

    So much stupid in this “article”. Guess Pulitzers aren’t that hard to come by.

    • Paul Bass

      Could you be more condescending, please?

      Yes you are a misogynist, and how many Pulitzers do you have?

    • Jinmichigan

      I expect you are an expert on stupid based on your comment.

  • kalpal

    If a woman needs/desires healthcare let her find a wealthy impotent older white man and beg for it, right?

  • Paul Bass

    I don’t know you from Adam, but I’ve been enjoying your commentary for a long time.
    In regard to my comments, I’m a single parent, so I can get a bit mama bear at times.

  • David

    F… your asinine article.

    • Jinmichigan

      David, right back at you for your childish insult.

      • David

        What isn’t childish is 55 million murdered.

        • Insinnergy

          Yep… those 55 million collections of human cells matter until they’re born.
          Then they can die in GOP-designed poverty and inequality… and probably prison without you giving a crap.
          You guys are the weirdest political faction…

          • David

            They are “collections of human cells” unless the mother wants to keep it – then it becomes a “baby”. And, your answer to “poverty and inequality” is KILL them!

          • kalpal

            The real answer is that the community, all of the community, must care for these soon to be humans. That is a duty America’s right wing adamantly rejects.

            The mother is branded a strumpet and the progeny is a little bastard or a bitch but they none of them are fully equal human beings.

            When one looks at anti-abortion legislation one sees that essentially it encumbers solely those women who lack the resources to afford the cost of contraception, or travel to a location offering a safe legal abortion. There is no doubt that the RW finds all fetuses precious but not so living breathing humans.

            You may deny this but we both know that it is true.

          • David

            Thank you for your reply. I agree that there must be care for all children. While the RW objects to cradle to grave welfare for all, I agree that there needs to be help for those who truly need it. Determining who falls into that niche does create conflict. Have a blessed day!

          • kalpal

            No one has ever asked for or demanded “cradle to grave” welfare. That is a typical RW deflection. If children are apropriately supported by the community they will grow and mature to be contributing members. Those who are neglected and reviled by the community will not. Lay off the religious BS and get real about how this nation exploits and abuses its poor.

          • David

            The Demorats demand it every day!! Religion is not BS. Exploitation? Abuse? Please provide examples of each. Have a blessed day!

          • kalpal

            Which Democrats demand this? That is a typical bit of RW mendacity but that is expected. I would like you to do some of your own research and stay away from RW web pages. I am in my 7th decade of life and I have watched the GOP blame the poor for everything wrong in this nation. Ronald Reagan fibbed massively about it and since he got away with it, everyone else in the GOP did it too. Look at Newt Gingrich who specialized in it. After Nixon/Agnew both got away with being felons it has been the way to go for America’s RW.

          • David

            The clamor for increased welfare payments; Obomo phones; Obomocare; and, over 49% of the citizens being on some sort of government handout. Apparently, the GOP sins differently than the Demorats. Ask Bill Clinton about that blue dress! Ask HIldebeast about all those contributions to the CIinton Foundation while she was Secy of State — and, that only 11% of the money donated to the Clinton Foundation goes to charitable causes. Have a blessed day.

          • kalpal

            You are what I gathered all along. Just a typical hate filled, self righteous RW twit. Worse yet, you are an ignorant one.

          • David

            No response, eh? Have a blessed day!

          • kalpal

            Bah humbug! Keep on being a religious twit. It suits you well.

          • kalpal

            Bah humbug. Typical RW lies.

  • pisces63

    I believe the biggest insult is how they use black women to prove a non-point. They lie about PP and its founder, Margaret Sanger’s ultimate goal to kill black children, when in fact she was saving them. When the leaders of Harlem begged her to open a clinic due to the high mortality rate of mothers and their children for lack of health. They were
    not exactly welcomed in the good Christian hospitals. Sanger was pro-life and believed life began at fertilization and would have been against Roe V Wade. Her own mother had 18 pregnancies with 11live births and she died at 49. That drove her passion for women’s health and why she opened her first clinic in Brownsville(Brooklyn)N. Y. The one in Harlem was not opened until 1930. Yes, she believed in eugenics as did Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, France, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain. In fact, Hitler used the American version for his program adding the final solution, which the
    American founders spoke of doing but figured American people would not go for
    it. You think?? They considered people not of these countries as unworthy and their ‘breeding’ limited or stopped. Thus, the supreme court approved the sterilization
    of the mentally handicapped in Virginia in the 1920’s. During eugenics over 60,000 people were sterilized, forcibly. They included prostitutes, epileptics, mentally challenged, people with birth defects, etc. It did not stop until the 1960’s. It was not stopped in Europe until the 2000’s. I have three wonderful children but IF I had
    been in a situation where I had no back up, no means of survival, I would have
    aborted in a heartbeat. WHY? Trust the system with an orphaned black
    child? When pigs fly. Connie is right. No one cared.
    I watched a western one day and a woman was in labor and the male doctor
    said that’s women’s work. As far as I am concerned it is still women’s work and men need not reply. Connie, miss you in the Cleveland Plain ealer, still.

    • kalpal

      Every bit of anti-abortion legislation is solely intended to encumber those women who lack the necessary resources to obtain a safe legal abortion. The rich are not ever encumbered by these laws.

      By insuring that the impoverished in our communities produce more offspring society insures a stock of cheap labor since those offspring are not provided with adequate nutrition, shelter or education.

      These laws are a fiscal decision employing religion as a political cudgel.