Republican threats shouldn’t affect student health services

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

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Republican threats shouldn’t affect student health services

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Antony Marchiando

Illustration

Antony Marchiando

Antony Marchiando

Illustration

THE CHANNELS EDITORIAL BOARD

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To absolutely nobody’s surprise, House Republicans are yet again holding our government hostage for a fringe issue that our Supreme Court decided on years ago.

After a bill was passed through the House of Representatives on Friday, Sept. 18 that would potentially defund Planned Parenthood, based on the controversy of aborted fetuses being used for medical research, the question of a government shutdown has been on everyone’s minds. Because Democrats and President Obama oppose the current budget proposal, Obama has stated he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

As of Sept. 22, Senate Republican leaders have tried to avoid this problem by introducing a temporary federal budget that would raise the debt ceiling and still defund Planned Parenthood.

Those of us on the Editorial Board are appalled by these threats to the crucial organization.

Planned Parenthood provides so much more than abortion services. It provides a safe place for STI testing for men and women, crucial cancer screenings and vital health information in a time where sexual education has become a national disgrace. Planned Parenthood also overwhelmingly serves poor and lower income patients.

The locations in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties provide over 62,000 men and women reproductive health care services annually. The SBCC Satellite Health Center is even a Planned Parenthood location on City College campus that offers information as well as free services for students.

If they were to be defunded, it would force thousands of our students to look for health care in an already difficult market. The fact that Republicans are willing to cause a government shutdown based on the false pretenses that American tax dollars are used for this procedure is infuriating. Abortion practices make up very little of what Planned Parenthood provides, and doesn’t get a dollar of federal funding to operate.

The simple truth is that this issue should have been settled years ago. Abortion is legal, and has been for decades in the U.S. at this point.

And while extreme conservatives like those in the House talk a lot about the Bible as their inspiration, it’s clear to us it comes down to outright sexism.

Planned Parenthood primarily serves women, and as much as pro-life groups like to talk about each life being sacred, they seem to stop caring the moment that child is born. They cut funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, education, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and countless programs that benefit struggling families.

The Republican Party in the U.S. has abandoned any pretense of being a political party at this point. They more closely resemble religious fanatics that happen to be in office. To attempt to force a woman into carrying a child she is unable to properly care for, and to then turn around and not offer any further relief is the definition of hypocrisy to us, and makes the “pro-life” label disingenuous at the very least.

The Channels Editorial Board firmly believes institutions like Planned Parenthood should continue to be funded across the country. Without readily available access to such an important resource, all the ban would accomplish was to force people into the black market to perform what they believe are necessary procedures. Taking away women’s access won’t slow the rate of abortions, it will only make getting one that much more dangerous for people in an already desperate situation.

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