GOP Salivates at Prospect of Cutting Funds for World’s Poorest Women


This article was amended at 2:20 pm to correct the name of Congresswoman Ellmers, earlier and incorrectly identifed as Congresswoman Elders.

The Republican/Tea Party majorities in the House of Representatives are, literally, salivating at the prospect of cutting aid to the world’s poorest women. 

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-MI), put out a press release with this gleeful introductory paragraph:

“I’m happy to announce that the winning program of the first round of YouCut is the UN Populations Fund (UNFPA) which will save $400 million in taxpayer dollars over ten years. This program, which is receiving funding from the Obama Administration but was not funded under the Reagan or George W. Bush Administrations, raises many concerns over potential funding for abortions and forced sterilizations in countries such as China.”

A bill has been introduced to defund UNFPA, which will first go to committee and then to a full vote on the House floor, where only a simple majority will be needed to pass the bill.

For the purpose of clarity, I’ll first add the facts, ’cause you won’t get them from Rep. Ellmers: As certified by the United States Department of State, and also by a special investigative team appointed by President George W. Bush himself, UNFPA has nothing whatsoever to do with forced sterilization in China and does not provide abortions. Facts, however, are not germane to either the GOP or the Tea Party.

Instead, defunding UNFPA–like Planned Parenthood particularly and women’s health services more broadly–has long been a primary objective of the far right in the United States and a special project of Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, whose hatred for women knows no limits.  So this is just the latest in an endless war against women.

What is notable, however, is the gloating nature of the discussion around these cuts, and the new smokescreen created by the recruitment of female mysogynists to the effort:

“This is just the first of many steps we are taking to stop wasteful spending and turn our economy around. I look forward to working to push defunding of this program through the House and hopefully getting the bill to the floor for a vote. I would encourage everyone to visit my website to learn more about the winning program and keep voting as the competition continues over the next several months.”

YouCut is an initiative by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to give his minions the appearance of having a role in making decisions.  It is described by Cantor as: “a unique grassroots program… that allows the public to directly engage in the legislative process by voting online for a spending cut of their choice. The winning cut is then formally introduced by the member who put forward the three cuts that week.”

In reality, people can vote “up or down” on pre-selected initiatives ostensibly aimed at cutting the deficit and balancing the federal budget.  Not surprisingly, those pre-selected initiatives are warmed over roadkill from past GOP efforts. UNFPA was one of the first to be put to the test for voting and, shockingly, it rose to the top in the “Week One/Phase II” voting on the website, American-Idol style, among the small number of people in the United States who actually agree with these cuts. According to research conducted by the Rand corporation, 80 percent of the American public writ large supports funding U.S. government funding of voluntary family planning programs overseas. Moreover, in a recent poll, 85 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement: “Every woman on the planet deserves access to quality maternal and reproductive health care.” So Cantor’s efforts clearly draw a distinct minority of people who are either largely uninformed or affiliated with the extremist right, or both.

Defunding UNFPA will do nothing to address the deficit, instead, it will cost us more money in the long-run, something that can be said about each of these supposed initiatives clothed in deficit reduction and really meant to impose a radical agenda on the United States.

For example, President Obama’s budget request for FY 2012 includes $47 million for UNFPA.  In FY 2010, UNFPA received $55 million in U.S. funding; in the FY 2011 budget “negotiations,” the U.S. contribution to UNFPA was cut by $15 million, to $40 million dollars, after the GOP- and Tea Party-controlled House tried to eliminate funding altogether when it passed H.R. 1.

What does UNFPA do with funding from the United States and other countries? It’s mission is to promote the internationally recognized “right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.”  UNFPA does not provide abortions, abortion services, or abortion-related equipment to governments in other countries, but it does help governments strengthen their national health systems to address complications of unsafe abortion, thereby saving women’s lives.

What else does UNFPA do? It supports countries in best using population data to develop policies and programs to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.  UNFPA helps reduce maternal mortality, infant mortality, and child mortality; helps stem the spread of disease, and helps promote policies that enable people, especially the poorest, to live in dignity.

This is an agenda clearly worthy of the deep hatred of the both the GOP and Tea Party, which can not stand the idea that women have rights at all, much less exercise the right to determine whether, when, and to whom to marry, or whether, when, and with whom to have children, or how many children to have. We now know from laws passed in the United States that women dying from unsafe abortion are of no concern to the GOP or Tea Party extremists governing the House.

Even child health is under attack. UNFPA works, for example, to reduce child marriage and eliminate female genital mutilation.  But extremists now controlling the House killed legislation aimed at reducing child marriage using existing resources, so their real intentions are clear.

In fact, for every $100 million dollars invested globally in the kinds of programs supported by UNFPA, we help women avert 2.1 million unintended pregnancies, prevent 825,000 abortions, prevent 70,000 infant deaths, and save 4,000 women from dying in pregnancy and childbirth.  This is not only cost-effective funding, it is pro-life and morally imperative funding.

What Representative Ellmers calls “wasteful spending,” saves the lives of mothers and infants, keeps families healthy, saves girls from becoming child brides and… reduces the need for abortion by expanding access to voluntary family planning services to the very poorest. 

So what Ellmers–and the male-dominated leadership for which she is shlling–really mean is that they are “happy to announce” that they will cause more death, pain, and suffering among poor women worldwide.  That does seem to be their goal, does it not?

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  • beenthere72

    I can’t believe how excited she is about this.  She should be ashamed of herself. 

     

    I found another you cut the budget website over here:  http://youcutthebudget.com/index.php

    I put in 100% to anything that had to do with paying federal employees and/or their pensions.    Also put in to raise taxes for the wealthiest and cut tax exemptions to corporations.    Wish this internet vote thing really worked.

  • forced-birth-rape

    “UNFPA works, for example, to reduce child marriage”

     

    ~This makes me cry. The American “CHRISTIAN” taliban wants every third world little girl bare foot, pregnant, and having sex every day with her vile husband. The American “CHRISTIAN” taliban, the republican party thinks nine-year-old-little-girls are for sex, marriage, and pregnancy. Nothing more nothing less.~

    ~I hate them all. ~

    “save 4,000 women from dying in pregnancy and childbirth.”  ~ It makes pro-lifers horny when third world little married girls die trying to give birth, it really is pro-lifer porn. ~

    ~ Word to women and little girls of the world from the American “CHRISTIAN” taliban, if you cannot or will not give birth, drop dead! ~ 

  • lauraj400

    SEXUALLY ACTIVE.

  • prochoiceferret

    NO ONE I KNOWS WANTA A 9 YEAR OLD TO BE SEXUALLY ACTIVE.

     

    Allow me to introduce you to the House Republicans who killed a bill to prevent child marriage!

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ That is so very true because sexually active usually means consent, but every pro-lifer on the globe is all about “RAPE”.

    Women and little girls should always refuse sex, then they are to be penis raped were they will be what pro-lifers love more then anything in the world and that is a barefoot and pregnant submissive to a male little girls and women.

    You are a liar lauraj400, quit making up rape apologist bullshit about your pro-rape, child-raping ilk.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/church-excommunicates-mother-of-9yearold-rape-victim-ndash-but-not-accused-rapist-14218389.html

    I know damn well from the soles of my feet to the top of my head that the pro-life movement is all about “RAPE” even rape of under age children. I am sick of you trying to polish up your child-raping, pro-child-raping pro-life ilk. ~

    It is hell for a girl under the age of eighteen to have to dread sex, to be forced to see and feel a penis, dread being subject to an evil man, this is what your pro-life ilk signed under age girls up for all over the world. ~

    You do not care, you want what you want, and that is forced birth. If under age girls in third world countries have to have sex every day with old evil men so be it, laura and her pro-life friends are getting what they want at the expense of an under age vaginas.

    Good for you laura, good for your pro-forced birth child raping ilk.~

    http://voicelessvictim.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/top-10-catholic-lies-about-child-rape/

  • jane-roberts

    Please please please visit http://www.34millionfriends.org (of the UN Population Fund) and click on the very new, well illustrated article in the National Geographic on child marriage. It is heartrending. The most awful thing that could happen would be the Obama Administration caving to the anti UNFPA fanatics in order to get something  else he wants in the budget negotiations. This would separate the US from the more than 150 nations which contribute to UNFPA and would  give our country a huge black mark before the family of nations. Thanks Jodi for writing this.

  • lauraj400

    bill on it’s own or was it tacked on to something?Some times they bunch bills togather and to veto one,you have to veto all of them.

  • lauraj400

    SHOULD  GET THE death peenalty.

  • arectaris

    The sad thing is that the above post will eventually be rated a five.

  • therealistmom

    She has experienced things that no girl or woman ever should have. FBIR sees through the bullshit that is ‘pro-life’ and the real agendas so many of the xian talibangicals carry.

     

    What is also sad is that you keep denying REAL women’s experiences with your patronising bs.

  • colleen

    There is an enormous market in the US for child prostitutes  (the FBI says the average age that children are groomed and/or coerced to become prostitutes is 11-13.) and an even larger set of opportunities for men who access children for sex by dating  single mothers. Even I know a couple of men  who fit that description in that I worked to get the SOBs in jail and on the sex offender list. Both men were protected by their (very conservative Republican) parents who insisted that the 10 and 12 year olds they raped “seduced” them.Seeing as you’re a fundamentalist Christian and the second greatest predictor for childhood sexual abuse is that precise patriarchal sub culture I’m guessing you know more than a few men who want 9 year olds to be sexually active. They could be sitting beside you in the pews this Sunday or behind the pulpit.

  • forced-birth-rape

    “It is hell for a girl under the age of eighteen to have to dread sex, to be forced to see and feel a penis, dread being subject to an evil man,”

    ~ Arectaris, you are hateful! No doubt a pro-forced birther MAN.~

  • arectaris

    If you consider bringing to light the absurdity in rating a post which exclaims that the pro-life movement is all about rape a ‘5’ then I’ll gladly be deemed as patronizing, whatever that means. I’ve yet to see any pro-lifer condone rape. On the other hand, there seem to be a few not so isolated incidents of pro-choicers trying to use abortion to cover up rape.

  • forced-birth-rape
  • crowepps

    It’s always kind of a shock when it’s revealed how others view you, isn’t it?  I would not express my opinion so dramatically, but frankly, when fundamentalists come on here and start talking about how when girls are raped and become pregnant it’s “God’s Plan” they come across as sexual abusers and perverts to me as well.  Don’t like being lumped into the same crowd with Tony Alamo and Warren Jeffs?  Stop talking about girls as though they’re baby vending machines.

  • arekushieru

    Anytime you condone forced gestation, you condone rape, albeit a much more intrusive, life-threatening, physically damaging form of rape that takes longer to complete.  If you don’t condone rape, but condone forced gestation you are a misogynistic hypocrite.  I see you’re comPLETEly disappearing the woman, now.  If you want to force women to remain pregnant so that law enforcement officials can determine who her rapist is, you are completely erasing any trauma, desparation, fear, dread, disgust, depression, etc… she is and will be experiencing, after all, JUST so you can be satisfied that another rapist didn’t have to take responsibility for his/her own actions.  That the victim once again holds all responsibility for reducing incidences, even though it’s been proven over and over that that simply doesn’t work.  

    Btw, how IS that supposed to catch a rapist, anyways? 

    Plus, if you had decided to actually consider the MEANing behind FBIR’s name, I wouldn’t have needed to explain all this to you, yet AGAIN. 

  • jrm83

    The bill in question was the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act.

     

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/12/17/shameful-republicans-kill-bill-prevent-child-marriage

  • lauraj400

    on to another bill?>

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ So luara there is an acceptable excuse to sign girls under the age of eighteen up to have to have sex every day?

    To sign girls up under the age of eighteen to have to be married?

    To sign girls up under the age of eighteen to have to give birth? ~

     

    ~ No girl anywhere in the world should be forced to be married.

    No girl anywhere in the world should be forced to have sex, girls who are married and under the age of eighteen have to have sex with their husbands.

    No girl anywhere in the world under the age of eighteen should be forced to stay pregnant and give birth. ~

     

    ~ These pro-lifers are saying girls under the age of eighteen have to have sex every day with their husbands, basically an underage sex slave to one man, so that a fetus or embryo does not get aborted. ~

     

    ~ I know pro-lifer Phyllis Schlafly says that if a man rapes his wife it is not rape because they are married. But I believe that any one who has sex with an under age girl even though he bought her as his own (private sex slave) “bride” for one man, it is rape. ~

  • colleen

    The bill was not part of another bill. Next time why not try doing your own research or even reading the links provided?

  • lauraj400

    bills Are attached aS riders on other bills that they get killed as a group.One year funding for medicare was killed for A couple of days because they attached other,non-related,bills on to it.

  • lauraj400

    married.She WANTED TO be marrried,she begged,threatened,you name it.Everyone told her it was a mistake,but she would not listen.Should her parents be in jaiul?

  • kj

    Personally, I think children (and a person is legally a child until his or her 18th birthday) should not be able to agree to marriage, as marraige is a legally binding contract and children shouldn’t be signing contracts. Heck, 18 is even young in my opinion.  The latest research shows that people’s brains are still in the adolscence stage until 23 (for women) or 25 (for men). 

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ My grandparents let my mother and her sister get married before the age of eighteen. Yes, I think my grandparents are perverts, they arranged for two under age girls to have sex and get pregnant. My mother and her sister were abused, and all nine grandchildren boys included were raped and molested. My father wanted my mother because she was naïve, ignorant, powerless, and young. Me, my sister, and my mother all paid dearly.

    It should be against the law globally for any one, girl or boy to get married before the age of eighteen, no one should be allowed to sign them up for every day sex. ~

  • colleen

    Oh, that’s what you were saying. I thought you were repeatedly asking a question even after  a link was provided which answered your question.

  • crowepps

    Wherever did you get the idea that it is either wise or necessary to let a 16-year old do something because she/he begs, threatens, etc.  Someone who is immature enough to beg and threaten to get their own way is too immature to get married.  In my opinion,  16 year olds should not be getting married under any circumstances whatsoever, and a law which puts their parents in the position of having to be ‘bad guy’ for refusing to give permission for something so foolish should be repealed.

  • lauraj400

    when she wanted something she could and did make life hell for everyone,till she got it

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ If I had a sixteen year old and she through a tantrum because I would not let her go to another state, to go to a concert, and she made my life and the other children’s lives miserable, I still would not let my under age daughter go to a concert out of state.

    When I was a kid my best friends sixteen year old sister through a tantrum because their mother would not let her go stay at a camp with a friend and the friends uncle, she made my friend miserable, my friends mother never let her sixteen year old daughter go stay at the camp.

    A good parent does not to let their ignorant children put themselves in a position were they can be exploited and vulnerable. ~

  • colleen

    So, how old was the guy who married her?

  • lauraj400

    All her life,no one could tell her anything.

  • lauraj400

    GOOD PARENTS.They wanted to be friends.

  • jennifer-starr

    That was a learned behavior, Laura. Your parents probably gave into her whims when she was little, and then when she got older she saw no reason to discontinue the practice. 

  • beenthere72

    Is this an older sister, Laura?   I’d love to learn a little bit more about you to know where you’re coming from and so far I get the impression that you’re an impressionable teenager.  

  • crowepps

    In Alaska, a daughter who made everyone’s life hell until she got her own way would get her attitude adjusted in-patient at a psychiatric hospital or at McLaughlin Youth Center, where the professionals have seen lots of kids who think they’re in charge of the world.  Every single time someone like did succeeds in getting their way by being obnoxious, the people who give in to them have taught them being obnoxious works.

     

    Look at how this has worked with ProLife protestors — they march around with disgusting signs and get away with it, so they escalate to standing in front of the doors blocking patients out and get away with it, so they set fires and burn down clinics and get away with it, and plant bombs that kill policemen and little girls and get away with it, and assault clinic staff and patients and get away with it, and finally end up killing people and just can’t understand why anyone is upset because, hey, their fellow travelers insisted all their OTHER disgusting, criminal actions were the fault of their victims.

     

    “We are totally opposed to violence” is not believable coming from the persons who are careful to provide a crowd to screen the shooter until their target appears and they can get them in their sights.  Ralph Lang planned to go to the clinic in the morning and ask one of the ‘sidewalk counselors’ who he should shoot and was absolutely confident that any of them would cooperate and point out his target.  Clinic protestors ought to be moved to ‘free speech zones’ out of earshot of the clients.  Strangers do NOT have right to approach and preach at and intimidate women going about their lawful business in an attempt to use fear to drive them away.  If panhandlers can be restricted from getting too close to people, following them down the street, persisting after being told to stop, similar rules could be applied to people panhandling for God.

  • crowepps

    People who want to “be friends” with their children are not good parents.

  • jennifer-starr

    Give them an inch and the pro-lifers will take a mile–and then scream bloody murder because they’re not allowed to verbally harass and physically accost you  on the sidewalk. They stopped Ralph Lang–but what about the next nutcase with a gun? Frankly in our current political climate it frightens me. 

  • lauraj400

    Tracey was my younger sister.She died from boose and pills.I was raised by my granparents,long story.they adopted me when I was 6.Anyway,Tracey had a bad  scene at home.Her father was abused towards her mom ,never towards the kids.BUT BOTH PArents wanted to be buddies,not parents,

  • meganc

    If we use hyperbolic language like “literally salivating,” what makes us so different from the right-wingers who come up with tortured (and false!) constructions like “pro-life” and “compassionate conservative”? We really should be better than they in every way.

  • beenthere72

    I have to admit that this came to my mind too.  

     

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/literally

  • jennifer-starr

    I used to think it was hyperbolic as well. But with this current crop of bills  that various (and mostly male) legislators are pushing, I’m not so certain anymore. I really am beginning to believe that there are men out there who get their rocks off at the thought of controlling women’s bodies. It’s not about ‘protecting life’. It’s about wanting to force the world to conform to their personal moral beliefs. 

  • colleen

    If we use hyperbolic language like “literally salivating,” what makes us so different from the right-wingers who come up with tortured (and false!) constructions like “pro-life” and “compassionate conservative”?

    Is this a serious question?

  • beenthere72

    I’m sorry to hear about your sister, Laura.

  • crowepps

    It’s a  self-appointed post-nanny tone trolling this blog to scold people here for not keeping the civility in their posts up to his/her standards.  Ignore!

  • kj

    Laura, it sounds like you have had some tough stuff in your life.  However, that does not make it OK to try and dictate the choices of others.  I hope you get some help to deal with your family situation.  Please know that, though we disagree on issues of choice, I have a great deal of sympathy for you and wish you the best. 

    KJ

  • jodi-jacobson

    Please watch the video and read the gleeful statements made by proponents of defunding UNFPA.

     

    If you don’t think that their demeanor at the prospect of defunding programs for poor women and children abroad (and here in virtually every instance) is “gleeful” and “salubratory” I don’t know what is.

     

    Jodi

  • rebellious-grrl

    Arectaris – No one is making you read this or post here. If you don’t like it GO AWAY!

  • rebellious-grrl

    Massive bullpucky! You are full of it.