So. H.R.3. In a crashing economy, when the teabaggers ran on a platform of Jobs! and Businesses! and Small Government!, the "highest priority" according to the new Speaker of the House of Representatives is a bill about making it harder for poor women to access abortion funds and redefining rape more narrowly. Small government, except for its control over the bodies of women! Wait, what?
Look, people, I do not care what you think of abortion. The fact remains that it is a legal, safe, and relatively common medical procedure accessed by 1 in 3 women at some point during their lives. The fact also remains that poor women do not hand over their right to bodily sovereignty and self-determination to "the taxpayers" simply by virtue of being poor. This sentiment that taxpayers have a "right" to deprive poor women of access to something they morally disapprove of via the control mechanism of financial pressure is bullshit, and it needs to fucking stop. Period the end.
Do not give me bullshit about how it's about "taxpayers and their say in how their money is spent" instead of being about controlling poor women. That will not fly. First of all, once your taxes go to the government, it's not your money anymore, and you have no right to say what's done with it. If you don't like a government program, contact your elected representatives or elect different ones or take any of the routes this country gives its people to air their grievances about the governance under which we live. But since this money is not yours anymore, to try to have such an intimate say in how it's spent that you want to go in and ban one specific medical procedure - not coincidentally, a procedure that is accessed by pregnancy-having people, who are for the most part women - is blatantly a grab for power over vulnerable bodies. It's not about the money, and you're not fooling anyone by saying it is. The money is just the mechanism you're using to assert your power over those bodies.
Just to make sure we're all aware of how much this is NOT about the money: Statistics for 2001, the most recent year for which there are statistics available, show that between federal and state-level Medicaid programs there were funded a grand total of...wait for it...81 abortions. 81. In all 50 states, over the course of a whole year. And that figure includes not only abortions in case of rape, which are the cases this travesty of a bill is trying to limit, but also for health-of-the-woman and incest exemptions. So if you assume they're divided out equally, one-third of 81 is 27. 27 abortions in a *year*. Abortions cost, on average, about $500 - it varies depending on the kind of abortion and prices in a given local area, but $500 is a reasonable average. $500 * 27 = $13,500. In the grand scheme of government money-flow, that is a miniscule fraction of a percentage point. It's peanuts. It's chump change, when you're talking government expenditures. It's not like banning those few abortions from being funded is going to save the government a lot of money or anything. So no, this is in no way about the money or reducing government expenditures. It's about finding and exploiting a vulnerability to try to make abortion inaccessible for just a few more women, because your vision of morality and forcing other people to live by that is more important than allowing people to live by their own morality and make their own decisions.
Thankfully, they've removed the "forcible rape" language from the bill, so this is less fucking-over-survivors than it was. But it's still bullshit predicated on some imagined "right" of the taxpayer to decide which forms of medical care beneficiaries of government-subsidized insurance should be able to access.
Of course, we could just go to the kind of taxation style some anti-choicers in Massachusetts are trying to push. They're pushing for a measure that would allow taxpayers to "opt out" and have whatever portion of their tax money currently goes to state-Medicaid-funded abortions, go to information outreach for the Baby Safe Haven Law instead. You know - once you've forced those irresponsible sluts to have their baby, make sure they know they can leave it on a designated doorstep to
But hey, I think this is a great idea. I look forward to the new IRS forms, in which your yearly tax return must be supplemented by form WTF-AMIPAYINGFOR, a ten-page list of programs with checkboxes next to them for "Yes, my taxes may fund this" or "No, spend my taxes on something else". So I can designate my tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood, comprehensive sex-ed programs, low-income clinics, and only the salaries of Democrat and Green party elected officials.
Or perhaps a better way to illustrate the level of absurd entitlement going on with H.R.3 would be to have someone propose the No Taxpayer Funding for Dentistry Act. If a person can push to defund one medical service for aid recipients based on their individual religious and moral beliefs, why not another? I demand that no more of my hard-earned tax dollars go to fund the legal, widely-used medical procedure of dentistry, because I believe it is immoral and it's my right as a taxpayer to impose that belief on poor people! ...right?
The second half of this post was much better before Blogger ate it. My apologies!