Republican Party of Sarasota County’s anti-Planned Parenthood campaign perpetuates a lie

In an email blast sent out late in the evening of Aug. 19, the Republican Party of Sarasota County (RPOS), over the signature of party Chairman Joe Gruters, announced that a “Defund Planned Parenthood Rally” would be held on the morning of Aug. 22, outside the Planned Parenthood headquarters in downtown Sarasota.

EditorialThe email disingenuously claims that “Women’s Health is very important to Republicans,” yet goes on to state that “taxpayer funding of abortions should be eliminated.” This canard has been employed for years by anti-abortion organizations, but now clearly is embraced by the RPOS.

Federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which the RPOS and its anti-abortion fellow travelers wish to eliminate, is used to provide essential health care for women, including health screenings, contraception and family planning counseling. A small percentage of women also turn to Planned Parenthood for elective abortions, which has been their constitutional right since 1973. However, since the adoption by Congress of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, no taxpayer funds have been used to pay for abortions, except when the life of the mother is imperiled (and, since 1993, in cases of rape or incest).

Image of the email sent by the Republican Party of Sarasota County on Aug. 19, over the signature of party Chairman Joe Gruters
Image of the email sent by the Republican Party of Sarasota County on Aug. 19, over the signature of party Chairman Joe Gruters

The RPOS knows this. The anti-abortion forces know this. However, their quest has very little to do with abortion, which is nothing more than a red herring to disguise their outright war on women in this country. The efforts to end Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, which has been provided by law since Republican President Richard Nixon signed the first such bill in 1970, are part of a larger campaign to limit family planning by women and ultimately to consign women to a subservient place in American society, primarily as breeding stock and child-rearers. The Republicans’ goal is a return to the Comstock Era of the late-19th century, when women had no control over their bodies or reproduction … not even the right to vote.

But we no longer are in the 19th century. We are well into the 21st century. Women are not only a vital part of the American workforce, they make dramatic and significant contributions to the well being of the nation. They manage to do this in spite of still being primarily responsible for childrearing in America, as many men remain partially or completely aloof from their proper role in raising their offspring.

Women make their many contributions to society and raise their children in spite of the paternalistic interference of right wing organizations, including the Republican Party of Sarasota County. They work for substandard wages, experience premature deaths and otherwise suffer disproportionately because they are denied the equal protection of our Constitution through the constant efforts of these troglodytic obstructionists.

The RPOS has shown the falsity of the right wing’s disclaimers of a War on Women in this country. They claim a spurious interest in the health care needs of women, all the while seeking to deprive women of access to health care. They bleat virtuously about their love for the Constitution, yet ignore the constitutional right all women have to medically safe and legal abortions.

Planned Parenthood is a vital institution for the well being of women in America. In many areas, it is the only affordable health care provider for women. Its primary mission is “to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual.”

We urge everyone who supports women and their right to self-sovereignty, and the good work of Planned Parenthood, to join others at the Planned Parenthood headquarters on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 9 to 11 a.m. in countering the nefarious intentions of the RPOS and their anti-women ilk. Wear pink, and stand with women and Planned Parenthood.