Mike Pence has been relentless in his battle to have funding for Planned Parenthood stopped. Pence is of the belief that Planned Parenthood should not be getting federal funding is any form; not for their services relating to birth control, body image issues, relationships, sexual orientation, or sexual health. According to Planned Parenthood’s latest report, abortions account …
… for less than 3% of the services rendered by their organisation. However, Pence has stated: “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions…As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.” Pence’s fight has brought the Pence Amendment to the Hose floor, where it has been up for debate over the past few days.
Yesterday, after being read descriptions of abortion procedures by representative Chris Smith, Jackie Speier stepped to the microphone to front the Pence Amendment. The video of her speech is above.
In my opinion, one of the most poignant things about Speier’s speech is that it reminds us that those who make decisions for us often have no idea what they are talking about. Smith is content to describe a procedure that he has absolutely no experience with- it has never happened to him, yet Smith, and Pence, feel they have the right to make decisions about those it may happen to. I can only hope that Speier’s brave decision to come forward and share her experience snapped those in the room back into their places. While it certainly may not change the opinions of those in favour of Pence’s Amendment, I hope it at least holds bearing on the way they decide to speak about it.
While Speier’s argument about Hibernia is somewhat of a red herring, it does remain that the job of the House of Representatives is to address the concerns of the nation- and Speier is on the money when she says people care more about job creation than they do about funding for Planned Parenthood. That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t talk about such things, but there certainly needs to be a focus and a prioritization behind the desires of the public. This is the job of the House- to take the countries’ most pressing concerns and address them. Far too often it seems that the government- possibly due to the influence of the media’s created perception of the country’s needs- wastes time on issues that aren’t as pressing as others. Yes, Planned Parenthood provides abortions. But not only are those abortions legal, but they are abortions that are not funded by tax payers dollars. It seems ridiculous to me that any time is being spent on Pence’s argument at all- either make abortion illegal, or shut the hell up. And as abortion is currently legal, it would stand that the majority of Americans want it that way, and therein, that the House’s time is being wasted.
So to summarise, Pence is arguing against funding for a procedure which receives no funding. He is arguing against something that is perfectly legal, and he is arguing against something he has absolutely no experience with. Sounds to me like someone should be a wee bit embarrassed of themselves.
Whether you are for or against abortion rights, I think everyone can agree that the government needs to prioritise the needs of the people. I think we can all agree that this issue is far more complex than an us vs. them format, and that those looking to make change in this country need to develop direct, and well thought out arguments. And above all, I think we could all value from considering the people who are actually involved and affected by the decisions our government makes. To some, this may be a moral debate, but to others, it’s their memories, experiences, and futures.