It is absolutely deplorable to see Republican governors put their political ambitions above the well-being of their constituents, shirking their duty and desecrating the covenant between elected and voter, but it is becoming a far too common sight in America’s red states. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has literally put the health of his voters at risk, fiddling away as Rome burns in a desperate play for whatever shred of the already marginal evangelical vote.
Last month, Jindal defunded the two Planned Parenthood clinics in New Orleans over a self-righteous and trumped-up outrage over the edited video smear campaign. The consequences were swift: Jindal has allowed a rampant outbreak of syphilis to escalate into a “full blown epidemic” according to Dr. Stephanie Taylor, medical director of the State Office of Public Health. The New York Times reported that
“Louisiana ranks first among the states in cases of gonorrhea, second in chlamydia, and third in syphilis and H.I.V., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…and is among a number of states counted as medically underserved: It has a large poor and unhealthy population, with high rates of unintended pregnancies, a shortage of health professionals and too few who will accept Medicaid, as Planned Parenthood does.”
The selective interpretation of reality on the part of Jindal is really mind-boggling. Neither of the Planned Parenthoods in New Orleans administer abortions; nor is federal funding used for abortions anyway. What they did do was administer “20,000 tests for sexually transmitted infections, as well as provide gynecological exams, contraceptive care, cancer screenings and other wellness services for nearly 10,000 mostly low-income patients.” By cutting off funding for one of the few healthcare providers that accept Medicaid, Jindal is exacerbating the STD problems that his state faces and puts his people’s lives at risk- all to try to save his irrelevant and rapidly imploding presidential campaign.
The disregard that Jindal shows for his duty as a governor and for the well-being of the people in his state is inexcusable and reprehensible. If this is the sort of “governance” we can expect from Republican candidates, they absolutely do not deserve another chance to drive our nation backwards.
Colin Taylor is the 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.