GOP proposes eliminating Title X family planning funding

Because they seem to have only one song in their repertoire, GOP legislators are at it yet again. I just issued a warning about this kind of thing, and lo! The anti-choice Republican lawmakers were already rearing to go with an anti-women, anti-family agenda!

This persistent bunch is trying, yet again, to eliminate Title X funding. Title X funding provides birth control and preventive health care to more than 5 million low-income Americans every year.

Apparently, that’s the kind of thing that should be slashed in other to decrease the deficit. According to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute in May 2010, the cost of covering a Medicaid-funded birth, including prenatal care, delivery, postpartum and infant care for a year was an estimated $12,613 in 2008. The cost of providing birth control and other contraceptive services to low-income women at Title X-funded clinics averages only $257 per client per year.

Now, these two things are not equal. And it is indeed cheaper to prevent pregnancy than to carry one to term. But the point here is not that one of these outcomes is better than the other. The point is that this program SAVES MONEY. And it helps people at the same time. So, the argument that Title X is being targeted to slash the deficit is specious at best and disingenuous at worst.

It’s an old strategy, though. House Republicans have repeatedly targeted Title X. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT.), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, has proposed a budget bill for fiscal year 2012 last week that “eliminates 79 wasteful programs,” including Title X.

This proposed law, which already has the support of the House Appropriations Committee, would also defund Planned Parenthood, cut funding for teen pregnancy prevention initiatives and redirect it toward “abstinence-only” education programs, and prevent abortions from being covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Jennifer Hing, the committee’s GOP communications director told the Washington Post that this budget “reflects the Republican position on those issues … it reflects the opinion of our members.”

Earlier this year House Republicans cut funds for Title X by 5.5 percent during budget negotiations. A move that many health care health advocates say has been devastating to the increasing number of unemployed and uninsured people and families who rely on the program for basic health and preventative care.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT.) a ranking member on the Labor, Education, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, and all around bad-ass, told HuffPost:

“The Republican majority has targeted this funding not out of any interest in reducing the deficit, but instead as a means to end family planning opportunities for women. I am a survivor of ovarian cancer, and am only here today because my cancer was found early. Chairman Rehberg’s politically charged elimination of this vital program is bad policy and will cost women’s lives.”

So much for family values. But I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore.

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