Reprinted from Robert Reich Blog
The Republican assault on Planned Parenthood is filled with lies and distortions, and may even lead to a government shutdown.
The only thing we can say for sure about it is it's already harming women's health.
For distortions, start with presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's contention at last week's Republican debate that a video shows "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' "
Wrong. In fact, the anti-abortion group that made that shock video added stock footage of a fully-formed fetus in order to make it seem as if that's what Planned Parenthood intended.
But as Donald Trump has demonstrated with cunning bravado, presidential candidates can say anything these days regardless of the truth and get away with it.
At least elected members of Congress should be held to a standard of responsible public service.
Yet last Friday, the House voted 241-187 to block Planned Parenthood's federal funds for a year.
This may lead to another government shutdown. Funding for the government runs out at the end of the month, and several dozen House Republicans have said they won't vote for a funding bill that includes money for Planned Parenthood.
This is, quite frankly, nuts.
A strong moral case can be made that any society that respects women must respect their right to control their own bodies.
There's also an important economic case for effective family planning.
Public investments in family planning -- enabling women to plan, delay, or avoid pregnancy -- make economic sense because reproductive rights are also productive rights.
When women have control over their lives they can contribute even more to the economy, better break the glass ceiling, equalize the pay gap, and much more.
Consider Colorado's highly successful family planning program. Over the past six years, the Colorado health department has offered teenagers and low-income women free long-acting birth control that prevents pregnancy over several years.
As a result, pregnancy and abortion rates plunged -- by about 40 percent among teenagers across the state between 2009 to 2013.