When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proposed budget cuts that would effectively immobilize unions, lower salaries and cost the jobs of thousands of public service employees on February, 14, 2011, protesters crowded the capitol building. Outraged at the affront against our most valuable workers, in Madison, Wisconsin, teachers and students, police officers and fire fighters, union members and just about anyone else who believes that government should be for the people rather than for the rich, were anxious to have their voices heard. The event made national and international news when the democratic state senators (as well as two republicans) literally ran away from the vote, hiding across state borders in protest of the unfair budget.
Needless to say, I have been very caught up in the Wisconsin hullabaloo. (And you should be too – protesters are making history! Check out what collective action and dedication to equity and justice can do: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/us/17wisconsin.html?src=me&ref=general)
However, despite the state level excitement and everything else that is going on in the world right now, a very terrifying battle is being waged at the national level over women’s rights and reproductive health. In their budget, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed cutting all federal funding for Title X, the program aids that goes towards family planning. This means that Planned Parenthood, the organization which advocates for, educates and provides contraceptive options to women, especially those with limited income, would be cut off from funding.
Funding for Planned Parenthood has been controversial for decades because it allows the organization to offer abortions to women who have no other options. By removing the financial support helping to ensure these women have protection and control over their lives and bodies, our federal government is jeopardizing one of our nation’s greatest defenses against transmission of STDs, unwanted pregnancies and all of the negative consequences that are associated with ignorance, apathy and lack of choice.