Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 8, 2011

IF IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR REAGAN.... There was a tidbit on Planned Parenthood's wiki page that jumped out at me.

Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act, amending the Public Health Service Act. Title X of that law provides funding for family planning services, including contraception and family planning information. The law enjoyed bipartisan support from liberals who saw contraception access as increasing families' control over their lives, and conservatives who saw it as a way to keep people off welfare.

Wait, "since 1970"? If this is accurate -- and I've seen this date referenced elsewhere -- this means that every federal budget for more than four decades has provided public funds to Planned Parenthood and the preventative health care services they provide.

That would include, by the way, budgets approved under five Republican presidents -- Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Bush -- none of whom saw the need to scrap funding for the health organization.

Indeed, every Republican lawmaker who supported budgets under GOP administrations -- a large group of long-time members, including Speaker John Boehner -- voted to fund Planned Parenthood, over and over again.

Nothing has changed as far as the organization is concerned. The only thing that's changed is the radicalism of new Republican Party, which seems inclined to shut down the government rather than allow working-class and low-income women from accessing contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases.

I guess the question then becomes, if Planned Parenthood funding was good enough for Reagan, and the Republicans who voted for Reagan-era budgets, why is it beyond the pale now?

Update: Barry Goldwater championed Planned Parenthood. He was also known in his day as "Mr. Conservative."

Second Update: Planned Parenthood was also celebrated by George H.W. Bush.

Steve Benen 4:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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cause it's tea bag party time now, dudes!

Posted by: just bill on April 8, 2011 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Because Reagan was a Communist.

Posted by: fostert on April 8, 2011 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Before, they didn't have a majority of their base that had been fed a steady diet of bullshit like "Planned Parenthood makes most of their money from abortions" (actual line from the current idiotic anti-PP radio ad, because as we all know, people run a nonprofit providing healthcare to the poor to "make money", right?).

The conservative movement is an intellectual death spiral -- it can only sustain itself if adherents never believe any source outside of it, including ones that tell them that their sainted hero Reagan supported numerous policies that are complete anathema to them now.

Posted by: Redshift on April 8, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Title X just celebrated its 40th anniversary. And it long enjoyed bipartisan support.

George H.W. "Rubbers" Bush was also an enthusiastic backer.

Some of the history is recounted in the book Red Families v. Blue Families by June Carbone and Naomi Cahn.

Posted by: Sir Charles on April 8, 2011 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Not so fast with the KUDOs for St Ronny, Steve. Under Reagan, the global gag rule was put into effect where no US funds could be used for the type of work Planned Parenthood was engaged in over seas. Clinton blocked this, but, Bush, reinstated the gag rule. Obama, to his credit, blocked that rule three days after being sworn into office.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 8, 2011 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

There's a strange logic here that says that because Planned Parenthood spends 3% of its budget on abortion and people are opposed to abortion, that PP should not get any government grants or contracts whatsoever.

Furthermore all of Title X which provides family planning and contraception counselling (not abortion) should be rescinded.

It is hard not to see this a broadside attack by the fundamentalist religious right on all expressions or discussion of human sexuality.

Posted by: David Sanger on April 8, 2011 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Someone should make the factual case that defunding Planned Parenthood will increase the number of abortions. Less access to preventative care means more unplanned pregnancies, which will lead to more abortions--if not at PP, then at other clinics or in alleys.

If conservatives want to reduce the number of abortions, then defunding PP is counter to their goals. If they don't agree, then they're ideologically deluded.

Posted by: dsimon on April 8, 2011 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

"If they don't agree, then they're ideologically deluded."

well, duh!

Posted by: just bill on April 8, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

The only word that comes to mind regarding the modern Republican Tea Drinking Party?


Posted by: kevo on April 8, 2011 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I think the main reason is that Republicans have to keep delivering restrictions on abortion, and it's becoming increasingly hard to do, as they have been so successful.

Tough and inflexible jail sentences have followed a similar course, ratcheting each time Republicans face an election where they have no real benefits to people that they can point to.

Posted by: Doug Hill on April 8, 2011 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

If I can believe what I read in the AP the EPA rider was dropped last night along with many of the others. This is about the last rider standing. While some right wing leaders are pushing the tea party to drop the Planned Parenthood rider some of the crazy caucus are insisting this has to stay. Let's see how long it remains.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 8, 2011 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

just bill: "'If they don't agree, then they're ideologically deluded.'

"well, duh!"

Well, yes, duh. But the point is to make them defend their position to their constituents, most of whom may not be as ideologically deluded. That's where political pressure comes from. I think that many of these representatives were put into office by the Tea Party wing and are more conservative than their districts. It's worth trying to see if some moderates, who might be paying attention, could be swayed by such examples of ideological rigidity and get their reps to show a little realism or vote them out of office in 2012.

Posted by: dsimon on April 8, 2011 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

What's changed? A faux-pimp and his camera-wielding cohorts is what.

Posted by: Grumpy on April 8, 2011 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers, @5:10PM,

Where did you find the info about the other riders, esp the EPA one? This was something I was just about to ask Benen, because this is the 3rd posting about Planned Parenthood and all of them suggest that PP is *the last and only* rider remaining as a barrier to the Rabids and the Meek achieving a "deal" (however shitty). So, naturally, I want to know who gave up on those -- the Rabids and they're not in, or the Meek and they *are* and we're being asked to swallow them whole, while opening our moths to complain about PP.

Posted by: exlibra on April 8, 2011 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats claim EPA rules win in budget showdown

By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press
Posted: 04/08/2011 12:22:56 PM PDT
Updated: 04/08/2011 12:23:00 PM PDT

WASHINGTON—Senate Democrats briefed on a potential budget deal say that Republicans have agreed to drop House-passed provisions to block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new rules on global warming or enforcing several other environmental regulations.
New York Democrat Charles Schumer said that during White House talks Thursday night, Republicans agreed that no controversial EPA-related policy restrictions would be included in any final budget measure.
Such policy issues dropped from the measure include a ban on new greenhouse gas restrictions on power plants and oil refineries, cleanup plans for the Chesapeake Bay and lakes in Florida, and blocking the agency from revoking permits for mountaintop mine sites that pollute rural waters.
The underlying legislation would fund the government through Oct. 1. A potential government shutdown looms at midnight."

Posted by: bigtuna on April 8, 2011 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

did the GOP run in the fall on the platform of zeroing out Planned Parenthood?
Did they run on the Ryan Medi**** change plans?

NO. They just make it up afterwards, and pretend they had a mandate.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on April 8, 2011 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Thx, big tuna @5:26PM. What a delightful surprise! One could wish it hadn't cost 3+Bil, but, still...

Posted by: exlibra on April 8, 2011 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on, Steve -- none of them were real conservatives.

Posted by: karen marie on April 8, 2011 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Reading this was like taking a walk down memory lane when there were more sane Republicans. Granted, they didn't seem that sane at the time, but the debate was much more civilized and the parameters were different, and the nation was slightly left of center for a snapshiot in time.

Posted by: max on April 8, 2011 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on, Steve -- none of them were real conservatives.

Exactly. Real conservatives hate birth control, icky women's health issues and kittens. Oh, and book learning! They hate that too.

Posted by: Four Legsgood on April 8, 2011 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

The "new Republican Party" has nothing to do with the Republican Party of all those presidents, other than its name. This is the Republican Party after being taken over by the Fundamentalist extremists of the old Confederacy. This is the Republican Party taken over by all the people who hated all those "lib'rul" Presidents.

Posted by: TCinLA on April 8, 2011 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK
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