NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch thinks the best way for the country to respond to school shootings is to stop reimbursing medical services for low-income women.
NRA flak Dana Loesch said on Tuesday she thinks taxpayer funds for women’s health services should be diverted to pay for armed guards in schools.
Loesch's suggestion, made during an appearance on "Fox & Friends," not only shows how far she is willing to go to avoid talking about guns, but also reveals a fundamental ignorance about the way the federal government pays for health care services delivered by organizations like Planned Parenthood, which Loesch specifically cited in her absurd proposal.
Speaking about the recent mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, Loesch applauded Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) for responding to the deadly gun violence incident by ignoring guns, eschewing new policy proposals, and sticking with vague niceties about "school safety."
The best way to protect schoolchildren, Loesch said, is to put armed guards in every school. Conveniently, she failed to mention that Santa Fe High School had two armed security guards on site when a student opened fire and killed 10 students and teachers on Friday.
Loesch then suggested that the federal government could pay for those armed officers by refusing to reimburse Planned Parenthood for the health care services it provides, and diverting that money to fund security initiatives in schools.
"We need to make sure that we’re funding security measures," Loesch said. "How about we take the half a billion dollars from Planned Parenthood and redirect that into making sure that our schools are secure and that we have armed security and that we have metal detectors?"
Loesch also proposed arming other school personnel, saying that "teachers are very talented people" and that we are underestimating their abilities by not asking them to brandish a weapon and face the possibility of having to kill one of their own students.
"They can teach our students and they can defend their own lives. And heaven forbid, if all else fails, defend the lives of students," she said.
"This is a multi-layer thing," Loesch added. "And not a lot of people realize that."
School safety is a "multi-layer thing" — and most people actually do realize that, which is why most Americans support measures to address all of those layers, including guns.
Furthermore, students, educators, and law enforcement officers roundly reject the idea of arming school personnel, because doing so risks putting students in greater danger. It's not a lack of funding that is preventing schools from turning classrooms into shooting ranges — it's a desire to do something about the root causes of gun violence rather than simply throwing more guns at the problem.
Perhaps instead of worrying about what other people don't realize, Loesch should consider reflecting on her own lack of understanding about issues like federal funding for women's health care.
Loesch's suggestion that the government could just take the money it uses to fund Planned Parenthood and invest it in school safety is based on a false notion that the government simply writes a check and gives it to Planned Parenthood as some sort of gift.
In reality, the federal funding Planned Parenthood receives comes from Medicaid reimbursements — money that pays clinics back for the services they provide — as well as Title X Family Planning grants. These funds are not handed over in a lump sum, but rather are disbursed to pay for specific services as they are delivered.
If the government stopped making these payments, hundreds of thousands of women would lose health care.
If the government diverted those payments to other clinics, the money would not be available for school security — and women would still lose care, since other clinics simply cannot make up for the services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Not coincidentally, Loesch's proposal to strip funding from women's health care came on the same day that the Trump administration announced it was doing exactly that, with the enactment of a new policy that will prevent many low-income women from accessing health care services from clinics that provide comprehensive reproductive health care services.
By all appearances, Loesch's remarks were nothing more than an uninformed attempt to divert attention away from guns by dangling another shiny object in front of the screen and providing new fodder for the right-wing noise machine.
If Loesch actually cares about saving lives, she should quit fanning the flames of the culture war and stop wielding gun violence and women's health care as weapons. But we all know she's not going to do that, given that the shelf life of her relevance will expire the day she gives up her role as a right-wing culture warrior.