While reducing rampant income inequality and ending the culture of big-money politics in this country are two of the main causes of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he’s also a staunch supporter for reproductive rights. In a recent fundraising email, Bernie called for increasing funding for women’s health care, not defunding women’s health care like what the far-right Republicans who control Congress and are running for president want to do:
Let me tell you what I believe: we need to be spending a lot more money on women’s health care. We need to be investing in organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide absolutely essential health services for women, particularly in low-income communities.
And Americans need a president who knows women in this nation deserve a whole lot more than $3 a person for health care.
Regarding Bernie’s claim about spending $3/woman on women’s reproductive health care, that’s a reference to Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush complaining about spending “half a billion dollars for women’s health issues”. If the U.S. spent $500,000,000 annually on women’s reproductive health care (I’m not sure what the actual figure is, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were close to that figure), that would translate to, rounded to the nearest cent, $3.19 per woman, since there were 156,964,212 women (50.8% of total U.S. population) in the United States as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Rounded to the nearest whole dollar ($3.19 rounded to nearest whole dollar is $3), Bernie’s claim is correct.
It’s common sense to increase funding and access to reproductive health care. Reproductive health care organizations like Planned Parenthood provide a wide array of reproductive health care services designed to prevent abortions and stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health services to men, in addition to reproductive health services to women.
The push by Republicans and right-wing smear artists to defund reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood have had disastrous consequences in Indiana, where a Republican-led push to defund Planned Parenthood resulted in an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana. This is one of many reasons why we need more public funding, not less, for reproductive health care.