Rep. Sean Duffy is dangerously anti-choice
Newly minted Wisconsin congressman Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI 7) recently signed on to co-sponsor H.R. 217, the "Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act," which would strip all federal funding from groups that provide abortion services.
This is a major problem on several levels.
The main target of the bill is Planned Parenthood, which in addition to providing safe abortion services, also does invaluable family planning and women's health work -- oftentimes serving women who would otherwise have nowhere to turn for such help.
It doesn't surprise me that Planned Parenthood has consistently come in for such attacks by the hardcore anti-choice crowd. Any group whose mission is to serve low-income, disenfranchised women while giving them the power to make decisions about their own bodies is going to be subject to the slings and arrows of the insecure and ignorant.
The truth is that Planned Parenthood truly is a life-saver, and stripping funds from them for any reason other than proof of gross, systemic abuse (which does not exist) would have disastrous consequences for some of the most at-risk populations in our country.
Duffy claims that his support of the bill is rooted in his personal experience, having "lived through the sorrow of losing two babies through miscarriage." He goes on to write that, "My commitment to the sanctity of life is not a matter of theory, but borne of the personal experience of an unplanned pregnancy that brought us unplanned joy."
That he and his wife experienced miscarriages is terrible and I don't wish it on anyone. And I'm glad they've generally been able to have so many healthy babies together, since that is apparently what they wanted.
To take his own wishes and impose them on everyone else, regardless of others' personal experiences, shows a complete lack of compassion or willingness to step outside of his own shoes, though.
And when Duffy says "this bill would not cut funding available for family planning, it would simply block tax dollars from flowing to organizations that provide abortions," it is shortsighted at best, intentionally misleading at worst. Comprehensive, healthy family planning services must include access to accurate information about and safe implementation of abortion services. Cutting off federal funding for organizations that provide such services also cuts off family planning funding because the two go hand-in-hand.
Every woman's story is unique. Every woman has the right to make decisions that affect her own body.
Duffy's bill is a bald-faced attempt to roll back the years of progress in women's rights hard fought for and won by generations that have gone before me and I'm not about to roll over and take it. Planned Parenthood in particular was there for me when I was uninsured and barely getting by. I've been fortunate in never having to go to them for abortion services, but I'm glad to know that they're there should the need ever arise.
My choice. Not yours.
Write or call Rep. Sean Duffy (dist. 715-298-9344 | DC. 202-225-3365) and let him know that you think this bill is wrong-headed. If you've got stories about the importance of places like Planned Parenthood, tell him. Feel free to also write the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN6) or any of its co-sponsors.
Chris Berge tells it like it is
Read this interview the Capital Times did with restaurateur Chris Berge, who recently scrapped his plans for a bike-centric restaurant on E. Wilson because Gov. Scott Walker killed the train.
A sample has Berge laying out exactly the problem with the Walker Administration's attitude toward business in Wisconsin:
CT: What about Walker's claim that Wisconsin isn't business-friendly?
CB: I don't see it. My businesses and much of the business in Madison are based on good-paying, highly professional jobs. He's coming from Milwaukee County, and the type of business people he is surrounding himself with are looking to find all the lowest common denominators. They want to keep the minimum wage low, keep benefits low and keep regulation off of businesses. It's a race to the bottom.
We need more business owners and employees speaking up about these very issues, frankly, so it's refreshing to see one doing just that.
A quick, but relevant, plug
When I auditioned for the Mercury Players Theatre production of the dark political comedy The Last Supper late last year, I had no idea just how relevant the show would end up being by the time it went up. The themes of the show were always going to be topical, of course -- dealing with ideological extremes (on both ends of the spectrum), searching for the middle road, gardening tips -- but this particular script became exponentially more timely after the tragic shooting in Arizona.
I like to think we -- the cast and tireless crew -- have put together a really great show that handles the subject matter with a balance of care and the kind of humor that becomes necessary in especially trying times.
I encourage you, then, to come out and see if I'm right or not. If you like your comedy dark and your political commentary relevant and smart, then I think you'll dig this play. Opening night is this Friday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. at the Bartell Theatre in downtown Madison. (You might recognize this script because of a movie made based on it.)
Now's as good a time as any to support community arts, too!