Republicans have once again interfered with a woman’s right to receive safe, accessible medical treatment. This time, it’s female military vets that are suffering at the hands of the ever-ignorant GOP.
On Wednesday, a bill that would have given female military veterans access to fertility treatments and counseling was pulled off the table at the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee due to the Republican crusade to destroy Planned Parenthood. The bill was proposed by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who wanted to introduce legislation to end a ban on fertility treatments for female vets being treated in VA hospitals. However, she decided to yank the bill after Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) attached amendments that maliciously pushed back against Planned Parenthood as well as other family planning organizations. That’s right – Republicans ruined lady vets’ chances of having children because of their never-ending grudge against Planned Parenthood, an organization that keeps women healthy and safe. Talk about having your priorities out of order.
Tillis defended his amendments, claiming that the VA should fix its current health system problems instead of starting new programs. Speaking out against Murray’s bill, he said, “I’m concerned that we have a problem with priorities. I’m concerned that maybe the focus isn’t where it needs to be to make sure that we take care of the most pressing problems for our veterans.”
Making reference to a now-debunked video about Planned Parenthood, one of the amendments Tillis introduced would prevent the VA from helping organizations that “take aborted babies’ organs and sell them.” Earlier this month, Republicans released a heavily doctored sting video that made it seem like a Planned Parenthood official confessed that the organization was profiting from selling fetal tissue. This video was proven to be false, but blatant lies and ignorance have never stopped a Republican before.
To justify his amendments, Tillis brought attention to a Government Accountability Office report on federal funding, in which the VA paid a family planning organization $900. Tillis wouldn’t name the specific organization, but one can only imagine which one he was referring to.
When Murray spoke on the Senate floor, she blasted Republicans for turning a bill that was supposed to improve female veterans’ health care into “political football”. She said,
“I know some Republicans are trying to use this latest issue as just one more opportunity to roll back the clock and take away women’s health care options. We can have that fight. We’ve had it many times before. But don’t pull veterans into the middle of it. Don’t take something that should be above politics — our sacred duty to our veterans — and pull it down into the muck of petty politics. It’s not fair to veterans and their families, who have been hoping and praying for the opportunity to have children.”
Before Tillis’ amendments, Murray believed that the bill would pass the committee and go to the full Senate. Murray decided to retract her bill from markup once she saw what Tillis was trying to do. Murray’s bill also would have offered financial aide to veterans who wished to adopt children. For a political party that claims to care so much about children and families, Republicans have very little show for activism in those areas.
By the way, Planned Parenthood doesn’t sell fetal tissue for profit. Here’s a video that sets the Republicans’ anti-Planned Parenthood video straight:
Featured image courtesy of National Guard via Flickr.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.