When Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation stripped funding from Planned Parenthood because the latter provided abortion procedures in addition to cancer screenings, it was revealed that the former had bowed to political pressure from the right. What ensued was a PR nightmare for Susan G. Komen. In the end, regular citizens fought for the rights of women’s health, particularly for the poor. But this was not the first instance in which women who are less fortunate found themselves at the mercy of the right.

Republicans have longed battled for the right to control a woman’s uterus. Ask any of the GOP candidates about abortion and each will froth at the mouth to tell you why it should be illegal. Illegal even if carrying that child to term threatens the health of the mother. Illegal even if a woman has been raped. In a CNN interview last month GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum goes so far as to suggest that pregnancies resulting from rape are God’s gift to that victim. Oh gee, thanks! You really shouldn’t have.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 42% of women who have abortions have incomes that fall below 100% of the federal poverty level. That’s equivalent to $10,830 for a single woman with no children. Since the GOP vehemently opposes abortion, you would assume they would advocate preventing unwanted pregnancies among low-income women, right?

Think again.

If a woman does not want to get pregnant, her best option is to use contraceptives. For uninsured women, the cost of birth control pills can run between $15-50 a month. That may not seem like much but to a low-income woman in this economy every penny matters. In 2011, Medicaid expanded coverage of contraceptives to women making up to $21,780.  Though contraceptives help prevent close to two million unwanted pregnancies a year, to the right they might as well be contraband. Rick Santorum declared war on birth control by threatening to revoke federal funding for contraceptives. Why? Because he doesn’t believe anyone should partake in non-procreative sex. That’s right. In his world, couples should only have sex for the purpose of having children.

So what would happen if a woman who had procreative sex suddenly found herself standing on the unemployment line? You would assume Rick Santorum and others of his ilk would support resources and programs that gave that woman and her child(ren) access to affordable health care and nutritious food, right? Wrong.

In regards to health care, if a woman cannot afford insurance for herself and her child, she may qualify for Medicaid depending on her income. According to Medicaid.gov, pregnant women with incomes up to $19,565 for a family of two can be covered. Many states also provide coverage for women with incomes up to $27,214. Unfortunately while the GOP has refused to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay higher taxes, they certainly have no problem proposing a $1 trillion cut to Medicaid.

And it gets better. WIC, the program that provides federal grants that enable low-income women access to nutritious foods and counseling on nutrition, has also been targeted. Last year House Republicans proposed cutting $832 million from WIC, a move that would deny 325,000 to 475,000 low-income women and young children the ability to enroll in the program.

In sum, the GOP cares only about the 40 week gestational period a woman carries her child. Beyond that, she’s on her own.

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  • theconvenience

    Point is, too many people look to the government, public and private organization to fix their problem. We are a country of people who blame others and lack responsibility. We have resources, especially to poor, to prevent so many issues. But instead we muck up then want others to come to our rescue. i will say about the Reublican party, they promote responsibility. Both the left and right are no better than the other. The Democrats have not helped us any more than another party. Please…

    • Mae

      You miss the point. As you said, “we have resources, especially for the poor, to prevent so many issues.” But ask yourself who are those trying to eliminate them? You also make generalizations. If the recession taught us anything, it’s that not everyone is in the situation they are in because, as you so eloquently put it, they “mucked up”. There are plenty of women who are casualties of lay offs, have had their husbands or significant others die, and need help. And you can’t sit there and say that if you were suddenly unable to support yourself that you wouldn’t use the resources out there to fix your “problem.”

    • Bunny

      Thank you Mae! I get so tired of hearing and version of the bootstraps/responsibility speech.

    • AreUmakingSense

      Bunny, may I ask, why are you tired of the speech? Do you think it appliess, especially in our community? Do you think that many who have suffered during the economic turn down would have never suffered or atleast suffered a less of a blow if they wouldve bad better choices? Social welfare is changing in this country. States are making many chances. People better realize this and make sure that they can handle these changes. I say this as an Independant.

  • Natalie B.

    I find it amazing the party of “limited govenment” and “keeping the govenment out of the lives of American citizens” is the party that wants to mandate that a woman become a mother, even if she feels she is not ready or capable to do so.

    The author of the piece is correct. Republicans interest in children begins with conception and ends at birth, and I’m being generous considering the reductions they want to make to make sure that healthy children are brought into the world.


  • It is truly sickening how backwards and one-sided the GOP is. When will they learn that the whole of America is not going to bow down to their beliefs and ideas of morality? There are far too many people from different religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds for us all to agree with such right-sided conservative beliefs. Honestly, I don’t believe that grown women who are capable of taking care of children should be allowed to abort. But if a woman does not have the financial (or mental/emotional) means to support and raise a child, she should not have to. And if you don’t want her to abort the child AT LEAST give her the option to be able to prevent it from happening.

    YOU WILL NEVER STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING SEX. EVER! Not everyone believes in procreative sex only, I honestly don’t know anybody that believes in that. At the end of the day you are leading an extremely diverse and multi-faceted country of people, you need to keep ALL of us in consideration. It makes me sick to my stomach that men try to make such solid decisions and conclusions on what a woman should do with her body, in a way it’s misogynistic. And the women who support this make me equally as sick because they’re supporting the patriarchy and basically saying that “you don’t have the right to choose what you do with your body”. These archaic ideas and beliefs of the GOP really need to evolve or just die all together. Times have changed and they’re going to have to adjust otherwise they’ll never get any support which honestly is fine with me :/


  • The Taker (GIANTS=CHAMPS!!!)

    Disgusting…. I cant even….just ugh.

  • Honey B.

    I am 23 and am a first time expecting mother. I am currently on both WIC and medicaid but only as a source for help until I am able to provide for my child and I without assistance. Not everyone abuses the system, which is something that I notice republicans tend to think of the low-income communities. A lot of us, like myself, use the government assistance as a stair step to help us get to where we want to be financially and etc. It is ridiculous how hypocritical this govt can be.