Okay, so let’s get this straight. If we deny family planning services to would-be – or I-don’t-want-to-be parents, such action (or inaction) will save the federal government a ton of money? That seems to be the thinking of every member of the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Our blog policy is one of not getting involved in partisan politics. In fact, our attitude is, “A pox upon both your houses,” when it comes to reproductive and population issues. So let’s refer to the the ne’er-do-wells in this particular instance as “the House majority.”
The House Majority has decided that Planned Parenthood, which gets approximately two-thirds of its funding from the federal government, should be denied all funding. Here’s how the logic goes: Planned Parenthood provides abortion services. Since it kills the unborn, it does not deserve federal support.
As you might guess, we support a woman’s right to choose. Whether you believe life begins at birth or not, it is not the government’s job to tell an individual what should be going on inside her own belly. That is big government at its most heinous. It’s odd that those who say the government should not be telling people what to eat or how to exercise, think it’s fine for the government to tell people they must give birth to a human being they do not want.
But here is the crux of the issue. Planned Parenthood does not spend most of its budget on abortions. And under existing law it cannot spend one dime on funding abortions. Most of its efforts are directed at ensuring that babies are healthy and at preventing abortions. Yeah . . . really.
Planned Parenthood is – get this – about planning parenthood. Duh! Its federal financial support comes from Title X (pronounced “Title 10”) funding. What is Title X funding? It has the goal of developing healthy families, helping individuals and couples to decide if and when to have children, and to prevent unintended pregnancies. It is a program dedicated to funding family planning and reproductive health care services.
Let’s look at recent history. During the era of the President George W. Bush administration, Congress appropriated millions upon millions of dollars to fund family planning programs around the world under the auspices of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United states Agency for International Development (USAID). President Bush refused to allow the appropriated funds to be released because he believed they would be used for abortions.
According to Population Connection – a family planning advocacy organization of which we are members – independent commissions appointed by Bush looked into the controversy and found that such funds had not been used to pay for abortions. But under pressure from New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, Bush still refused to spend the money.
The net result was that thousands of women all over the world became pregnant due to a lack of family planning, and many of them sought abortions. Thereby, Bush became a pro-abortion president; exactly the opposite of the intent of his presidency.
And now . . . here we go again. Does the House majority actually believe that by defunding family planning programs it will reduce abortions? Hello-o-o! Is anybody home? By denying thousands of families in the United States access to family planning education, there is a great likelihood that unwanted pregnancies will increase, leading to a rise in the abortion rate.
And for those who will not be inclined to having – or be able to afford – an abortion, that means more people on public assistance, and kids going into public schools, needing school- or public assistance-provided nutrition, and health care on the public dole.
Indiana’s Mike Pence – a congressman who is a pro-constitutional amendment-that-would-prevent-abortions representative – is responsible for the “Pence Amendment,” which would do away with much of title X funding. As long as he has his head where it is, he might as well give himself a visual colonoscopy.
The New York Amsterdam News quotes C. Nicole Mason of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University. She says that the legislation is a “blow to women of color,” and that they are facing a “critical battle for Black women and low-income women in general,” because they make up a substantial segment of Planned Parenthood’s clients.
If that isn’t enough, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) would also see cuts in funding. Over nine million people nationwide depend on the WIC, which provides nutritional foods and information on staying healthy.
Dr. Sarah Miller of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health says that the Pence Amendment has, “actually nothing about it that will save money in the short term or the long term.”
And here’s the coup-de-grace: the spending bill passed in the House reinstated the prohibition on federal money going to any organization that provides for abortions performed in foreign countries; the same restrictions that President Obama lifted when he assumed office.
Pro-choice advocates and lawmakers have called the House majority efforts on abortion an attack on women and family planning services. Democratic lawmakers assert that while Planned Parenthood performs abortions, it uses federal money only to finance health services for women who cannot otherwise afford them; that abortion funding comes from other sources.
Let’s hope the Senate is successful in removing the provisions of the Pence Amendment from the next budget.