The budget bill passed by the House would cut all funding, including Medicaid, from Planned Parenthood, likely putting it out of business. Every year, Planned Parenthood screens millions of women for cervical cancer, breast cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. It offers flu shots, diabetes screening and a host of other health services. Nearly half of its clients qualify for Medicaid.

If there's anything that makes the House Republicans' budget cutting appear to be driven more by ideology than fiscal prudence, it's a provision taking all federal funding away from Planned Parenthood.


It's against the law for federal funds to be used to pay for abortions, and it has been that way for decades.


Planned Parenthood, like other health care providers, provides a range of services for women. Every year, Planned Parenthood screens millions of women for cervical cancer, breast cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. The organization offers flu shots, diabetes screening and a host of other health services to women who might not otherwise have the means to get them. Nearly half of Planned Parenthood's clients qualify for Medicaid.


But Planned Parenthood also provides access to safe, legal abortions, and that has earned it the lasting enmity of those who would make that procedure illegal. The budget bill passed by the House would cut all funding, including Medicaid, from Planned Parenthood, likely putting it out of business.


Women in need of health services would have to go elsewhere, or go without, punished because Republicans in Congress don't like the politics of Planned Parenthood.


Proponents will argue otherwise –– that Planned Parenthood's mission is to abort as many fetuses as possible and that other services somehow advance that goal. But it is illogical, at best, to assume that women who come to Planned Parenthood clinics for Pap tests, birth control or flu shots will return for abortions, as if women who aren't pregnant are infected by the mere presence of abortion referral services.


Maybe such reasoning shouldn't be surprising, since anti-abortion zealots, almost by definition, have no respect for women's ability to make their own health care decisions.


This budget cut has almost nothing to do with saving money. It is part of the larger goal of turning back the clock, not just on abortion, but on birth control and access to reproductive health services that have saved or improved countless lives. It should be opposed with equal principled fervor in defense of women's health and women's freedom.


The MetroWest Daily News (Mass.)