EDITORIAL: Perry at it again

York Dispatch

"Let's go change the world," Scott Perry said on election night almost a year ago.

The conservative Republican from Carroll Township likely meant to motivate supporters who'd just given him a second term representing the 4th Congressional District.

To the majority of the 700,000 residents of Adams, York, Cumberland and Dauphin counties who make up the district — 88 percent of whom did not vote for Perry — it might have sounded like a threat.

For good reason. We've seen what happens when Perry's narrow world view clashes with reality.

By 2013, the Affordable Care Act was the law of the land, despite about 40 attempts by House Republicans to repeal it. Yet that summer Perry and 79 fellow conservatives decided to give it another go — this time threatening to hold up the entire appropriations bill until funding for the health care law was stripped.

The tactic was doomed from the start, considering the Democratic-controlled Senate would never go along and the president would surely veto it.

In the end, all Perry and the other reckless right-wingers got for their trouble was a 16-day partial government shutdown that disrupted the lives of millions of Americans and cost the economy $24 billion.

Apparently, that was acceptable collateral damage for true believers like Perry, who's now at again.

Perry and a small band of cohorts in the House sent a letter to Republican leadership this summer threatening to reject any funding bill that includes money for Planned Parenthood.

"Please know that we cannot and will not support any funding resolution ... that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams," they wrote.

A funding bill is due by the end of the month, meaning a government shutdown is again possible.

Keep in mind that, like the 2013 debacle, this ploy also has no chance of success. There isn't enough Republican support in the Senate, and even if there were, the president would veto it.

Supposedly, this effort was prompted by secretly recorded, heavily edited videos made by anti-choice activists posing as medical company representatives.

The activists claim their videos show Planned Parenthood mishandles and sells fetal tissue for research. The nonprofit denies the allegations, and resulting investigations have turned up no wrongdoing.

But GOP attacks on the health care provider were regular occurrences before the videos surfaced this summer. As recently as January, The Hill reported House Republicans were seeking ways to cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood, saying they want to defund "the big abortion industry."

The fact is, abortions account for only about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's services, and long-established law forbids the organization from using federal funds for abortions. The majority of its services involve general health issues — from treating sexually transmitted diseases to prenatal care. Millions of men and women rely on Planned Parenthood's low-cost services.

Yes, the Affordable Care Act mandates everyone carry health insurance, as Perry notes. But many states — all controlled by Republicans, by the way — still have not expanded Medicaid, which would cover some of the services offered by the nonprofit.

And just because someone is insured doesn't mean they can easily cover co-pays for doctor's visits; Planned Parenthood is an alternative in those cases.

Perry wants to cut off these many critical services used by low-income Americans — and possibly make the rest of us suffer when he fails.

How's that for changing the world?