In the heated House debate yesterday on a proposal to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding for women’s health and sex education services, one speech stood out. California representative Jackie Speier said she would abandon her prepared remarks because “my stomach is in knots.” Then she told the world about her own abortion.
In her case, it was a wanted pregnancy she had to terminate because of complicated. “But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest, as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous.” She then went on to say that Republicans were wasting the time of Americans, who are primarily concerned with jobs and not with what is, last time we all checked, a legal procedure. There’s no other way to say it: She kicked ass. (Also, just hearing the word vagina on the House floor is excitement enough.)
Meanwhile, Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin showed yet another reason why it’s important to elect women and people of color — the prospect of a bunch of old white guys standing around talking about black women’s fertility and alleged genocide. After Rep. Paul Brown said (falsely) that clinics target neighborhoods where people of color live and that “more black babies are killed” by Planned Parenthood, Moore replied, “I know all about black babies. I’ve had three of them. I had the first one at the ripe old age of 18.” She knows something else, too: Republicans’ policies show “utter contempt for poor women and poor children.” (The anti-abortion site LifeNews took aim at Moore for going “as far as implying that it is better to have an abortion than make a child be forced to live ‘eating Ramen noodles’ and ‘mayonnaise sandwiches.’” Food lobbyists can’t be pleased either.)
The idea of cutting Title X funding, which provides $317 million to family planning services that includes Planned Parenthood, is sufficiently radical enough that the Times ended its piece with this uncharacteristically pointed kicker:
In an e-mailed response, Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, said the answer was not to support a group that, in her words, helps sex traffickers. But she did not suggest how Planned Parenthood’s birth control services could be replaced.
This is one of those true colors moments, where it becomes clear that this isn’t really about abortion alone, but is about a deep-seated opposition even to birth control and safe sex.
By Irin Carmon, originally published on Jezebel. Republished WITH PERMISSION MOTHERF*CKERS.