Conservatives love to demonize Planned Parenthood, claiming that the organization is little more than an abortion mill. The real facts are that providing abortion services are a very small part of what Planned Parenthood does, but never let that fact get in the way of anti-choice protesters and the politicians who count on their votes.
Republican lawmakers have made it a point to pass laws trying to outlaw or defund Planned Parenthood, and now in Indiana it seems to have had some disastrous consequences with an outbreak of HIV.
From Huffington Post:
Scott County, Indiana, the center of an exploding HIV outbreak, has been without an HIV testing center since early 2013, when the sole provider — a Planned Parenthood clinic — was forced to close its doors. The clinic did not offer abortion services.
The Scott County clinic and four other Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, all of which provided HIV testing and information, have shuttered since 2011, in large part due to funding cuts to the state’s public health infrastructure. Those cuts came amid a national and local political campaign to demonize the health care provider. Now, the state is scrambling to erect pop-up clinics to combat an unprecedented HIV epidemic caused by intravenous drug use.
The fact that Scott County was “without a testing facility until a few weeks ago is a glaring example of the kind of public health crisis that results when prevention and testing are left unfunded,” said Patti Stauffer, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s vice president for public policy. (Source)
HIV isn’t just spread by sexual contact, nor is it a disease confined to gay men. Conservatives have such a raging hatred for Planned Parenthood that they’ll ignore the fact that the organization does so much more than provide abortion services. In fact, only 3 percent of total services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortions, but never let those facts get in the way of right-wing talking points designed to promote anti-choice, anti-women legislation.
This isn’t just Indiana, it’s also being done in Texas and in other states across the country.
Texas has the third highest rate of HIV infections in the country, but that didn’t stop lawmakers from passing an amendment that defunds HIV/STD prevention programs Tuesday. The amendment to the House budget proposal—offered by Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Kaufman)—diverts $3 million over the next biennium to abstinence-only sexual education programs. (Source)
It is worth pointing out that this is part of a broader initiative by Republican-controlled state legislatures to push an extreme agenda designed to roll back the rights of women, gays and really anyone who isn’t a white, heterosexual Christian to a time before Roe v. Wade and the Civil Rights Act. It’s truly ignorant, shameful, and backwards, but it’s just par for the course with the far right which is in complete control of the Republican Party across the United States, especially in very conservatives states like Indiana, Louisiana, Texas and others.
As I’ve said over and over again, the only way to turn back this tide is to get out and vote. Vote, not just every four years, but in your local and state elections as well. Remember that the people who think Planned Parenthood provides only abortion services, and that HIV is only spread by gay men, are folks who vote in elections that affect each and every one of us.
If this doesn’t motivate you to get out and vote, I don’t know what will.
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