There’s been plenty of coverage of the Republican Party’s recent “war on women” — from their gazillion violating and unconstitutional attempts at restricting abortion access to their reluctance to continue supporting the Violence Against Women Act. Maybe you even remember how Republicans waved around the threat of shutting down the US government via lack of funding because it was that important to them to keep Planned Parenthood from doing its work. So it’s a nice thing, in the midst of a constant deluge of news about politicians who are willing and even enthusiastic about throwing women and other marginalized communities under the bus in order to further their own interests, to see someone who’s willing to stand in solidarity with women instead. Which is what President Obama is doing with the statement that he recorded in support of Planned Parenthood and those it serves:
In culture wars where a sharp dividing line is drawn, political instinct often calls for tiptoeing around it — the way many politicians do when talking about, say, marriage equality. “I have the utmost respect for my gay friends, and that’s totally unrelated to my belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.” It’s almost shocking, then, to hear a politician (our President, even) take such an unapologetic stand: saying that “Planned Parenthood will continue providing care no matter what,” and affirming that some decisions are “best made between a woman and her doctor” are a decision to stand decisively on one side of the line in the sand as far as women’s health. Obama reminds us that Planned Parenthood provides dozens of services besides abortion, and for many women serves as crucial preventative care. Anyone, a politician or otherwise, who wants to inhibit women’s access to that is also opposing basic health and equality for half of America. It’s good to know that even if sometimes it feels like no one else in public office understands that, at least our President does.