The most recent Republican push to shut down the government is about Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health and family planning provider that was recently the victim of sting videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood has consistently denied this, and the groups and lawmakers going after Planned Parenthood have so far failed to prove their claims. That is why the congressional hearing yesterday became a stunt in which Republicans harassed Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards about her salary, the organization’s travel expenses, and made false claims about Planned Parenthood services.
This hearing is not about governing. House Speaker John Boehner, for example, knows full well that President Obama would veto any legislation taking federal support away from Planned Parenthood, and that the American public overwhelmingly supports Obama and Planned Parenthood in this fight.
Instead, I think Amanda Marcotte gets this right in a piece over at Talking Points Memo. This is a play to the Republican anti-choice base, which is obsessed with abortion and policing the sex lives of women. Marcotte explains how the hearing demonstrated that Republicans either do not understand the true nature of the services Planned Parenthood provides, or, more likely, they do understand and it’s precisely the family planning to which they object.