Not all Republicans are out to federally defund Planned Parenthood. Nope, three prominent Republicans have just come over from the "dark side" in the name of women's health.
It takes guts to cross party lines and to stand up in opposition to the GOP's proposed and ill-planned cuts to Planned Parenthood's funding. However, Planned Parenthood offers health services to all women, not just a select group, and these women understand that. The federal monies cannot be used to fund abortion services, so this really boils down to a debate over whether we think all women should have access to affordable family planning and preventative health services. It may seem like a no-brainer, but not when politics get involved.
Of course there are other female Republican dissenters -- including Judy Biggert of Illinois and Mary Bono Mack of California -- but let's look at (and applaud) some of the most recent Republican women to stand up for Planned Parenthood.
Who are these rad Republican women?
Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey
Whitman, who served as EPA administrator during the George W. Bush administration, is calling on her party to retain federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In an op-ed piece in the Bergen Record, Whitman wrote:
As a former governor, I understand that this country faces a growing deficit and we must exercise fiscal discipline. As a Republican, I also understand that women, no matter their party affiliation, are concerned about the health of their mothers, their daughters, and their sisters.
That's why I am concerned that social conservatives are trying to hijack the budget process to include proposals that would wipe out access to family planning, HIV testing and counseling, and breast and cervical cancer screening for millions of American women.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Murkowski was the first Senator in more than 50 years to win an election with a write-in campaign, and she recently voted in support of the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Vice Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Murkowski wrote:
I believe Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need and disagree with their funding cuts in the bill. I ask you to consider these programs going forward to determine if there is room for allowing continued funding.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Collins is often described as a "moderate" and is considered one of the Senate’s most liberal Republicans. In regard to the cuts, Collins' spokesman said:
Senator Collins is a longtime supporter of the Title X Family Planning Program, and she believes the House’s decision to completely eliminate the funding is unwise. The program has successfully reduced the number of unplanned pregnancies, therefore helping to reduce health care costs.
Indeed, hundreds of women count on Planned Parenthood for birth control. Revoking community access to this service is only bad for our overall health care costs, which include the many costly repercussions of unplanned pregnancies.
The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program dedicated to reproductive health issues and is currently funded at $317 million, money that would be revoked if Republicans are successful.
When was the last time you crossed your party lines for an issue that was important to you?
Image via WeNews