Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, handily dismantled the filibustering editorial “When States Punish Women,” which decries Indiana’s defunding of Planned Parenthood, with a short and sweet letter-to-the-editor today about a third of the original piece’s length. “States Punish” makes one serious argument (with which most of us are now familiar) amidst a lot of fear-mongering about abortion access:
Governor Daniels and Republican lawmakers, by depriving Planned Parenthood of about $3 million in government funds, would punish thousands of low-income women on Medicaid, who stand to lose access to affordablecontraception, life-saving breast and cervical cancerscreenings, and testing and treatment for H.I.V. and othersexually transmitted diseases. Making it harder for women to obtain birth control is certainly a poor strategy for reducing the number of abortions.
The measures against Planned Parenthood come amid further efforts to limit access to abortion. Just since April, six states — Indiana, Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma and Kansas — have enacted laws banning insurance coverage of abortion in the health insurance exchanges created as part of federal health care reform, bringing the total to 14 states. Two states — Arizona and Texas — joined three others in making ultrasounds mandatory for women seeking to terminate pregnancies. Bills expected to be signed soon by Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, contain both types of provisions.
Isn’t it funny that while the other side insists that taxpayer subsidies of Planned Parenthood don’t fund abortion, they lump Planned Parenthood defunding together with abortion restrictions as both attacks on abortion access?
Marjorie’s response is worth reprinting in full:
To the Editor:
In your June 3 editorial “When States Punish Women,” you call Indiana’s law barring taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood “dangerous,” saying it will “punish thousands of low-income women on Medicaid.”
I disagree. The law simply says tax dollars can’t go to any entity that performs abortions. No Medicaid benefits are changed, nor is access denied.
In fact, according to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, in the 21 counties affected by the law, there are approximately 800 provider locations eligible to provide Medicaid clients with nonabortion services.
By proposing to cut off all of Indiana’s Medicaid funding, it is the Obama administration that is acting dangerously by jeopardizing the health care of women. The Obama administration should respect the will of Hoosiers and let them manage their own Medicaid program.
Washington, June 8, 2011
The writer is president of Susan B. Anthony List, which helps elect anti-abortion candidates to Congress and statewide office.