Republicans vs. their own values

So in case you haven't heard, Republicans are trying to toss a pebble off our mountain of debt by stripping funding from Planned Parenthood. It's no secret conservatives dislike Planned Parenthood because... wait for it... they do abortions. And as we all know, a fertilized mass of human cells is the exact same thing as a living, breathing human.

Republicans claim that they're doing this do reduce our national debt. According to Wikipedia, Planned Parenthood receives a shade under $400 million of its national funding from government grants and contracts. Per Republican legislation, the organization cannot use this federal funding to pay for abortions. But of course, conservatives aren't content yet. They want Planned Parenthood gone for good.

But Planned Parenthood, as the name suggests, not only provides a number of vital heath care services for women (breast and cervical cancer screenings, for example), but it offers services that help prevent unwanted pregnancy – including comprehensive sex ed and the distribution of contraceptives. You'd think that if Republicans were really serious about reducing the number of abortions in this country, they'd be rallying for increased federal funding for Planned Parenthood. You know why people get abortions? It's because of unwanted pregnancies. You know what sex education and contraception do? They reduce unwanted pregnancies.

This is quite similar to the way conservatives have approached sex ed (in a nutshell: "NO"). Conservative bedbuddy "abstinence-only" sex ed is demonstrably less effective than comprehensive sex ed. Ignorance is never bliss. But since conservatives apparently dream of a Leave It To Beaver style utopia filled with chaste young men and women and Stepford wives, they are immune to these facts.

It's frustrating. I can fully accept that abortion is a hot-button issue, and that there are a broad range of views on them – some more rational than others. But while I'm very much pro-choice, I don't think abortion is anything anyone wants to see more of. To that end, I can fully side with my Republican friends in wanting to reduce the number of abortions. So why are conservatives so hellbent on gutting organizations and programs that reduce unwanted pregnancies in the first place?

And puh-lease, let's not hide under this facade that it has anything to do with the national debt. Just for comparison: Planned Parenthood took in just under $400 million in federal funding in 2008. If we raised the marginal tax rate of the top 2% of earners back to the rates during Clinton's term – what they were during the biggest economic boom in history and a paltry 3% higher than they are now – we'd save $40 billion. Republicans don't give a crap about reducing the debt; they're the ones who grew it in the first place for crying out loud. Before the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts, we were running a record surplus. This is just politics as usual.

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