Is the topic of abortion holding up the budget and shutting down the government? Really? Who is telling the truth among these monkeys up on Capitol Hill? Democrats say the ideological issue of abortion is the sticking point, while Republicans say it's purely budget cuts. Is the political agenda simply to make Obama look like he forgot to pay the electric bill? Yeah, I think that's it. But the abortion funding aspect to this budget battle is valid nonetheless.
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Is Abortion Holding Up the Budget and Shutting Down the Government?
Just hours away from a government shutdown, the focus of the entire nation is on Washington DC. The midnight deadline looms, and the President's demand for a morning compromise failed to frighten the GOP. In fact, I believe it showed desperation in the Administration. It is in the President's interest to preserve the vulnerable economy, because the perception of a government shutdown on the street would be one of an Obama failure. Thus, I expect the Democratic position will give more than the Republican stance in the end, or more likely, a short run government shutdown will occur.
But who is telling the truth with regard to abortion, the GOP or the Dems? And is the abortion issue really holding up the budget and shutting down our government? Is it a worthy blockade?
In a morning interview and from the floor of the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said that as of last evening, women's care funding was the sticking point between the two parties. Reid said that it's illegal to use federal funds for abortion, and what this political agenda of the GOP is actually doing is closing clinics that serve 5 million American women, providing free screenings and other tests for those who cannot afford it otherwise. We're talking about cancer screenings and all sorts of services and tests provided to poor Americans.
Planned Parenthood has made claim that 90%+ of its government funding (less than $400 million) goes toward preventive care, based on an interview I witnessed of a PP representative. So what about the other portion? It seems the other portion would be the abortion portion. Abortions provided at clinics are cheap because of the government's support of Planned Parenthood. So, while government aid does not go directly to individuals, paying for abortions, it still facilitates abortions by making them cost significantly cheaper. This is taken directly from Planned Parenthood's website, "Costs vary depending on how long you've been pregnant and where you go. Hospitals generally cost more."
It seems that because Planned Parenthood provides abortions, it is the GOP's intention to strangle funding to it, sort of like how it wants to kill the latest health care legislation opening up services to many who would otherwise go without (but also different). Based on an interview of Presidential possible and Congressional Representative Bachmann, that will be the focus of the 2012 budget battle.
If government aid does not directly assist people by paying for abortions, but still makes them cheaper, then it's arguable whether the GOP is improperly circumventing the system to make its way despite existing laws standing in the way of its ideological hopes. Money needs to be cut from somewhere and I'm all for making abortions harder to get, but it would seem the GOP is choosing the wrong battle to wage, with some $33 billion in cuts likely already agreed upon, and with a vulnerable economy hanging in the balance on a fogged abortion issue.
Still, While I Side with Dems on the Budget Issue, I Stand Firmly Against Abortion. Maybe clinics should not be providing abortions at all. I do not want my tax dollars going toward facilitating it. It makes it easier to get an abortion, cheaper, and so we are in fact assisting in the process. In that regard, we are helping, and for that we must answer. The question to ask is, what is the percentage of abortion procedures at clinics today versus other women's services provided there? How does that ratio compare to the percentage at private doctor practices? I expect you'll agree that the degree to which abortions occur in clinics is significantly higher than in private practices providing relative women's services. I expect that even in cases where people can afford an abortion privately, they go to the clinic to find a supporting and isolated environment. I say to whomever that applies, if it doesn't feel right, then maybe you shouldn't be doing it. And it's not my intention to place blame on people who have had an abortion, or to judge anyone, as I am an imperfect person also, and certainly not capable of judging anyone. Judgment is for a higher power, in my view, which is supposedly a popular view.
What I can control is my representative government and the direction of my tax dollars, and so can you. It seems both political parties are exaggerating their arguments to gain popular support. So what's new? Abortion is an important issue, worthy of deep debate, but the Planned Parenthood portion of the budget is relatively small. Planned Parenthood serves some good purpose, in my view, in its efforts to educate people with regard to STDs and prevention of pregnancy, and so strangling it is neither in my interest nor America's interest - restructuring it is though. The main point is that this abortion argument will keep us bogged down forever if we allow it to, and so it is an improper battle to wage today, when our economy needs no disruption. I think that wherever we stand on abortion, we should agree on a budget for 2011 outside of that issue. If you want to take it up for 2012, okay, but get started on it early and don't place the economy at risk in the process, because much more evil would result.
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