The Latest Republican Attack On The Poor: Ending Family Planning Services

paul-ryan-john-boehner family planningOne of the ways the Republican Party gets votes from religious conservatives is to claim that they are “pro-life” and oppose abortion. Over and over again, GOP candidates pass bills designed to make getting an abortion nearly impossible and make hyperbolic statements like saying they wish they could set themselves on fire over the issue. Yet, whenever it comes to programs that would actually reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and subsequent abortions, Republicans can’t vote fast enough to slash them, as we saw recently in Colorado.

Now Republicans in the House are preparing to go after family planning services at the national level by voting to end funding for Title X Family Planning, a program that has been around for decades and has provided reproductive health services to millions of Americans. This is just the latest attempt by the GOP to prove how “pro-life” they are, which will end up causing more abortions and making it harder for women to get access to affordable family planning.

“The network of publicly funded family planning providers that has long been underfunded has already been eroded,” Clare Coleman, the president of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), said in a statement in response to House Republicans’ latest budget proposal. “Fewer resources would set off a cascade of effects that would push the family planning safety net beyond its breaking point — prompt health center closures, force layoffs among clinicians and administrators, and severely cripple service delivery capacity, all of which translate to fewer women and men who would be able to access the critical health care they need.”

Advocates like Coleman say that it doesn’t make any sense to slash funding for Title X because the program has been proven to save money in the long term. Every public dollar spent on family planning results in a net savings of about $7.09, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute, because of the dramatic reduction in government services that would have otherwise been devoted to unintended pregnancies and births. (Source)

It used to be that Americans on both sides of the aisle agreed that family planning services were a necessity. When Title X was passed in 1970, only 32 members of the House voted against it – that gives you an idea of how our country broadly supported this idea. Since then, as the Republican Party has wholeheartedly embraced the fringe elements like the Quiverfull movement that includes the now-infamous Duggar family, opposition to a commonsense program has become a campaign issue for GOP politicians.

Even though the Hyde Amendment has prohibited the use of public funds to pay for most abortions since 1976, anti-choice activists have continued to put access to family planning services and abortion into the same basket, arguing that somehow one leads to the other. There’s also the belief that contraceptives allow women to be “slutty” and that STDs are a punishment by God for what they consider to be immoral behavior. It’s a sick mindset, but it is part of what drives a fundamentalist political crusade that considers sex to be worse than drug addiction, and that a woman’s primary role is to produce as many Christian babies as possible.

Right now, President Obama’s veto pen is the only thing standing between GOP lawmakers and their all out assault on women’s reproductive rights. However, if Republicans keep control of Congress and they take the White House in 2016, you can expect a return to the days before Roe v. Wade and contraception. It’s what the Duggar division of the party wants, after all.


Facebook comments