Monday, February 28, 2011

Mike Grimm attacks Planned Parenthood

Congressman Mike Grimm joined the GOP's crusade to help balance the federal budget by bulldozing social programs for poverty-stricken Americans (and other random people who just happen to not vote for them).

After an extension of the Bush Tax Cuts by the Obama Administration last year, Republicans have been trying to trim federal spending in conveniently Democratic and liberal sanctuaries.

This time, Grimm teamed up with pro-lifer Mike Pence to vote on an amendment to cut off every single federal dollar to Planned Parenthood and deny much-needed health care and family planning to thousands of women all across the country.

The Pence amendment, which has little chance of actually passing, would deny a myriad of services such as HIV and cancer screenings to women, specifically in poor communities. Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler has even deemed the legislation unconstitutional, telling Politico that it targets and punishes a specific group.

"If Planned Parenthood or anyone else is doing terrible things and ought to be punished, that’s up to the courts,” Nadler said.

But, unfortunately for Andrew Breitbart, Planned Parenthood doesn't do anything illegal. The organization promotes health and sexual wellness to women through counseling and treatment - "90 percent" of which is preventive and primary care, not abortion.

Still, Grimm is taking a cavalier stance on this controversial issue.

"I understand the argument," Grimm told NY1. "However, I think that the people of the United States feel very, very strongly that none of their money, no federal funding, should go for abortions or for counseling for abortions. And that's really the heart of the issue."

First off, that's probably not true. Secondly, the only American people you represent live out on Staten Island. You've been in office for two months and you're making decisions on behalf of the entire country for an issue like abortion. Slow your roll, Mr. Grimm.

In addition, Staten Island is not rabidly conservative on social issues. Abortion barely came up in the campaign, if at all. And it's not clear if Grimm is taking this stance on moral or fiscal grounds. So it's likely there will be some backlash against the congressman for his Pyrrhic, symbolic gesture. (A similar move to defund NPR failed last year.)

Even if the doomed legislation was enacted, the rescued federal funds would be paltry in comparison. Planned Parenthood estimated that it received about $79 million last year in the legislative funding (called Title X) which goes to groups that provide abortion.

The war in Iraq cost $3 trillion; tax cuts for rich people $81.5 billion over two years; 13.9 million people are unemployed and Congress devoted a three-hour debate to defunding a successful program and imposing their moral certitude on poor people.

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