Photograph from Max Pixel
Dear Mr. President,
I know that you have the ability to love women. After all, you’ve married several of them, you’ve fathered several of them, and you have said that your mother, above all women, made you the man that you are. Although you have bragged about your sexual prowess and sexual abuse of women, you have also insisted that no one respects women more than you do.
And, although you are made uncomfortable by truly brilliant and powerful women, you have a great deal of respect for your daughter, elevating her to one of the highest positions in the country, and you allow another woman to speak for you, for better or for worse, across the nation.
You have recently talked about empowering and promoting women, and removing barriers that women face. And yet, when it comes to women’s health, you are balancing on the fencepost of misogyny. Why else would you consider caving to people who value their dogmatic beliefs about abortion more than tangible lives of actual women needing healthcare? You, yourself, have said “But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood.”
And yet, in the very next breath, you have insisted that you “will not fund it.” You will not fund an organization that provides necessary health services to 2.5 million men and women annually because this organization also provides counselling and abortion services. No matter that it is already against the law for public money to pay for abortion, and no matter that Planned Parenthood carefully and systematically tracks all funding and follows the law, and no matter that 97% of what Planned Parenthood does has nothing to do with abortion services. You would defund it because a vocal minority in our country insists that women should not have access to health care provided by an organization that they don’t like.
The Republicans in the Senate have gleefully passed a bill that would allow states to strip funding from Planned Parenthood. And, although this bill allows for “community health centers” to receive the funds instead, the actual existence of these health centers is in question. In fact, in much of our country, Planned Parenthood is literally the only option for women’s health services. There are no health centers that women can access in these areas. And poor women, especially, do not have the means to drive hours across state lines in order to have a breast exam, or have access to birth control, or receive prenatal care.
It is time to separate facts from rhetoric, Mr. President, and it is time for you to take a stand and speak the truth. Either you openly admit that poor people, and especially poor women, don’t deserve healthcare in our country and you sign this bill, or you stand up against the misogynistic bullies and point out that all women deserve access to healthcare. If you sign this bill defunding Planned Parenthood, you must also vocally acknowledge that this will result in more deaths, more pregnancies, more cancers, more poverty, and more abortions. This is on you, Mr. President. You have the chance to speak up and let your voice be heard. With a stroke of your pen, you will tell the world how you really feel about women.
We are listening. And watching everything you do.