Over the past few years, politics in this country have gotten so polarized that it’s easy to forget that, rare as they may be, there are still moderates out there. Unfortunately, their crazy counterparts scream louder and get all the attention, which is why I wanted to give credit where credit is due, and mention Illinois Republican Bob Dold.
Dold wins the Unicorn Award because on Wednesday he introduced HR 5650, also called the Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act. In his own words:
“Specifically, this legislation says that when it comes to participation in the Title X program, health care providers such as hospitals and health care clinics, including Planned Parenthood, cannot be discriminated against and excluded simply because they choose to offer additional services, separate from Title X.”
The Title X Family Planning Program was created in 1970, and is “the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health procedures.” Priority is given to low-income families.
Rick Perry, Jan Brewer, and others have been on a crusade to block Title X funds from going to Planned Parenthood, despite the existence of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer funds from going to abortion services in the first place. Republicans reason that even if the money doesn’t go directly to abortions, it frees up money elsewhere for Planned Parenthood to use, and therefore PP shouldn’t be getting any money, ever.
Bob Dold, in his heartwarming, if wonderfully naïve, attempt to “bring both sides together,” states on his website:
“I am pro-choice and believe that this very personal and difficult decision belongs to each individual woman. I support access to common-sense family planning and comprehensive sex education…I wholeheartedly advocate for preventative initiatives and family planning aimed at reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and ultimately reducing the number of abortions. Preventing unwanted pregnancies and births while protecting the health of women should be our shared goal.”
The ice surrounding my angry black heart just thawed a little. What a concept! He supports the idea of making preventive health services available to the women most at-risk for unexpected pregnancy, because that is how the number of abortions is decreased, not by making the procedure itself illegal. Such logic!
Of course, other Republicans in the house reacted in a predictably immature way to his attempt at compromise. Cliff Stearns, the man behind the Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of funding, said the following:
“I wonder how many Republican co-sponsors he’ll get…I don’t understand why a bill is needed — there’s no discrimination against Planned Parenthood.”
Targeting one specific organization with unconstitutional legislation doesn’t count as discrimination, because…? Someone please help me finish that sentence.
While I have little to no hope that Dold’s resolution will actually pass, it was heartwarming to see, that just for a brief moment, there are, in fact, politicians out there who can make rational, intelligent decisions, despite pressure from their party.
Bob Dold, I salute you!