We Heart: Tough-Talking Older Woman Tells Off Congressman For Dissing Planned Parenthood

Finally, a voice of reason!

As GOP members flood mainstream media, scrambling to debunk the “myth” that women actively care about reproductive health and dismissing any fears of conservative women jumping ship come November, an Iowa resident let the Republican Party know there’s at least one woman out there who cares.

Socially conservative Iowa-based group FAMiLY Leader has been pressuring the state legislature to deny any taxpayer money to Iowa’s 23 Planned Parenthood centers. The money Planned Parenthood receives from the state covers preventive healthcare, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, pap smears and prenatal care. None of it covers abortions. This is a fact the GOP has also decried as a “myth” or “lie” or, simply, a fact they’d rather not acknowledge—to the detriment of low-income women and their health. We’ve already seen it play out in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry’s stubborn, self-appointed mission to “protect the unborn” has disenfranchised 130,000 already-born women.

So, at a town hall meeting in central Iowa on Tuesday, Shirley Grant attempted to set the record straight. A supporter of Planned Parenthood and advocate of healthcare access for low-income women, Grant had more than a few choice words for state Rep. Steve King about his incessant attacks on the organization.

Basically, she owned Rep. King—and it wasn’t very hard.

Grant starting off by throwing the ole double standard back at King: Pro-choice women, she patiently explained, want to “take charge of their own destiny” just as he “took charge” of his own as a young man. Then Grant fired off this elegant statement:

My daughter says, “Throw out the word ‘birth control,’ Mom. Planned Parenthood isn’t that.” She says it is for hormone replacement, and that means you use those pills for many, many, many different areas of women’s lives. I find it very offensive that men think they can tell women what to do with their own life. I think the political arena is making a big mistake when they don’t work with Planned Parenthood, instead of against it. They do so many good things.

Makes you wonder how some of these war-on-women politicians got their positions of power over tough-talking, informed women like Grant.

 Photo of Shirley Grant from town hall video by ThinkProgress.


  1. Elizabeth Estabrooks says:

    What Ms. Grant said was wonderful, and I’m so glad she spoke her mind because too many people are sitting silent in the face of what is happening. Having said that, we are taking the same slippery slope approach with birth control that we assumed with abortion: it needs to be available for medical reasons. For years we assumed a “safer” position on abortion. The mouthpieces for the battle said we needed to preserve the right to safe and legal abortions in the case of rape, incest, and medical need. They did that because they felt it was a safe argument. On the other hand, I and others like me said “this is a dangerous place we are going. Our message needs to be that we need to preserve safe and legal abortions – PERIOD.”

    Now I see the reproductive choice and feminist movements doing the same thing around birth control. They are SO afraid to use their voices in a powerful way and say “women need birth control as part of their reproductive health choices!” Instead, they are falling back on the “medical need” argument. No dammit!! WE NEED BIRTH CONTROL – for whatever reason we CHOOSE to take it. Because if we take the “safe” route now, we are heading toward the same fiery crash of an end with birth control that we are seeing with abortion. CLEARLY they do not care about women’s health and medical needs. And you mark my words: if we continue with the birth control argument based on medical needs, soon we’ll see laws that say it is only available in cases of medical need – NOT when there it is only being used as birth control.


  2. Sandie Reed says:

    We need more women like Shirley Grant, who will speak out against the GOP and their War on Women to their elected officials. She is not the only woman that feels this way in the country’s heartland, east or west coasts. Tens of million of women do make their own health decisions all the time. Birth control choices, the common cold, abortion or any other health related issue – should be left up to the woman and her doctor.

    Thank you Shirley!

  3. Dear Shirley: We need more women like you to speak out. Do you know how long it took
    for the FDA to finally get around to doing just hormone testing on women? Until 1985, all the hormone information was about men. That’s because women are more complicated.
    Even when they FDA did get around to doing the testing, they slanted it by leaving the most crucial hormone ‘progesterone’ until they were caught by healthcare advocates. Progesterone as know now controls all the other hormones. My tactics is if men ask for financial aid on some medical issue, say ‘no’. They haven’t finished with women yet.

    • Yes–but this isn’t about women being “more complicated,” but about the fact that few even bother to care or ask relevant healthcare questions relevant to women until long after they have done that for men. Decades of that practice leaves women in the dust. Then there are the Henrietta Lacks examples…

      I do wonder how much government research funding will even be available if the current line of “reasoning” continues. Somehow, anything relevant to women gets linked to “reproductive” issues that end up “controversial.” Basically, being female is by definition being a controversy!

      It’s depressing–but we must keep fighting. A hundred + years here, a hundred + years there–surely equality will eventually be ours too, right…???

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