It’s no secret Congressman Steve Pearce gets a lot wrong — from immigration to land rights and everything in between. But when it comes to women’s reproductive health his alternative facts are in another league. Here are 5 things he just doesn’t understand about Planned Parenthood and the reproductive rights of all New Mexicans.
1. Steve Pearce believes your tax dollars pay for abortions.
“Defund Planned Parenthood” is the unrelenting battle cry of the religious right (and quite possibly the first order of business if Conservative Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch is confirmed) but they’re yelling so loudly they can’t hear the truth: your federal tax dollars don’t fund abortions and never have.
Steve Pearce says, “Unknown to many, Obamacare forced every taxpaying American, regardless of their conscience beliefs and faith, to foot the bill for elective abortion services.” This alternative fact may be unknown to many because it’s simply not true.
Taking this stance, Steve Pearce perpetuates a lie that has led to the closing of clinics in the southern part of New Mexico. In 2011, 94% of New Mexico counties had no abortion clinic and 60% of New Mexico women lived in those counties. It’s common knowledge that The Hyde Amendment, instituted shortly after Roe v Wade passed in 1973, bars the use of federal funds for abortions, and while Title X covers family planning and preventative services, it doesn’t cover abortions.
Specifically, of the more than 650 Planned Parenthood facilities across the nation, the majority of their patients use Planned Parenthood services to obtain preventative care. Of all the services their clinics offer, only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. And yet, Steve Pearce believes federal tax dollars have turned New Mexico in the abortion capital of the United States.
2. Steve Pearce believes that religiously-oriented clinics are an alternative to access to Planned Parenthood.
In Pearce’s push to defund Planned Parenthood, the congressman cites walk-in clinics across the state are supposedly easy replacements for healthcare. Gee, that’s great, except most clinics don’t have even appear to have a certified OB-GYN on staff. 1 in 6 hospitals in this country are run by the Catholic church — these hospitals can and have refused to provide reproductive health care to patients, including life-saving, medically necessary abortions.
Pearce’s short-sighted perspective on the healthcare of New Mexicans completely ignores the fact that Planned Parenthood serves not only women. Men also stand to lose health coverage when clinics close. When Planned Parenthood clinics shut down, they send families most in need into a healthcare freefall.
3. Steve Pearce thinks prohibiting young women from obtaining accurate information on their reproductive options is a good idea.
In 2013, Steve Pearce co-sponsored the Protecting Life in Funding Education ACT, or the PRO-LIFE ACT, that would prevent state or local educational agencies from using federal education funds unless they signed a document stating that they would not provide information, referrals, directions, or any materials that might lead them to abortion services. Seriously? Young women can’t even ask for DIRECTIONS to get to the Planned Parenthood?!
4. Steve Pearce thinks that shutting down healthcare centers that specialize in women’s reproductive options will stop women from having abortions.
It’s dumb logic: if there’s no clinic to obtain an abortion, you won’t have one, right? This seems to be the strategy.
It bears repeating that Steve Pearce believes Planned Parenthood is unnecessary in an age with urgent care clinics are as ubiquitous as kleenex. Meanwhile, in New Mexico, legislators, activists, and ordinary citizens fight to maintain a woman’s right to decide, healthcare providers struggle to keep up with patient numbers as surrounding states limit access abortion. Women are often forced to travel thousands of miles just to receive reproductive health care.
As we know from the generations before us, not having access to safe, legal abortions won’t prevent women from having them. The graphic below indicates the states with the highest restrictions in dark red:
5. Steve Pearce doesn’t think women’s health is important to the body politic.
The following meme encapsulates exactly what Steve Pearce thinks about reproductive health and reproductive rights. When he was confronted by one of his constituents at a recent town hall meeting Pearce said:
Let’s face it. Steve Pearce doesn’t stand with women and their families, and he doesn’t care about the reproductive rights of his constituents who just so happen to be women, and he doesn’t stand with Planned Parenthood.
But we do.