The right’s needless cruelty is just appalling.

The [Texas] House approved a sprawling health care savings bill Monday that abortion-rights opponents hailed as a historic step toward de-funding Planned Parenthood and limiting abortion. Democrats, though, warned the bill includes permission for Texas to join an interstate health care compact, which they said could lead to a state takeover of the management of elderly Texans’ federal Medicare benefits. […]

The bill would deny $34 million to Planned Parenthood from family planning grants…. “Early in the session, I didn’t dare dream that we could make the gains this bill would accomplish,” said Joe Pojman of Texas Alliance for Life.

Wisconsin Republicans are going after Planned Parenthood. North Carolina Republicans are going after Planned Parenthood. Indiana Republicans have already gone after Planned Parenthood.

There’s just no reason for any of this. Indeed, in Texas’ case, Republicans have dominated state government for years, and never felt the need to cut off Planned Parenthood. The preventive health care organization hasn’t changed; its mission hasn’t changed; and its menu of health services hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is the radicalism of Republican Party.

The real-world effects of these efforts are unmistakable: fewer working-class families will have access to contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases. Ironically, the Republicans who claim to oppose abortions are going to make it more likely more women will have unwanted pregnancies.

It’s indefensible.

Reagan, by the way, funded Planned Parenthood, as did Bush/Cheney. Barry Goldwater was a major Planned Parenthood supporter, and George H.W. Bush also championed its work.

But now, all of a sudden, helping low-income families with preventive health care needs is a right-wing cause for the GOP.

I should note that Republicans aren’t winning all of these battled. The Indiana GOP’s drive to cut off Planned Parenthood was blocked the other day by a federal judge.

But the larger crusade is hard to miss. It’s tragic.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.