At the state level, the GOP's attacks on reproductive rights may widen the already huge gulf between red and blue states in health, family stability, and education.
Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet
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Republicans lost the first battle in their newly invigorated war on contraception and other health services for sexually active people, such as STD testing and treatment, when the Democrats called their bluff in the federal budget standoff. Planned Parenthood avoided the ax, but that doesn’t mean that Republicans are prepared to give up on doing everything in their power to separate women, especially low-income women, from access to contraception services. In lieu of cutting family planning subsidies on the federal level, Republicans have devised a plan to cut them on the state level, where they face fewer meddling pro-choice Democrats.
The strategy remains the same: Say the word “abortion” a lot, and use it to cut funding for contraception and other reproductive health services that aren’t abortion. Indiana kicked off the state-by-state strategy by banning Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding, using the usual abortion excuse, though none of the funding goes to abortion. Despite knowing that anti-discrimination laws would mean that this bill would end all family planning subsidies to the state, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed it anyway. Even though Republicans pretend to be cutting family planning spending more in sorrow than in joy, they still produce results for a right wing fringe that opposes not just abortion, but contraception, STD treatment, and preventing cervical cancer, all in the service of a religious belief that these are holy punishments for fornication.