Republicans have been busy defunding Planned Parenthood and other forms of publicly funded family planning like Title X. They don’t want to offer birth control pills via healthcare reform. They are against sex education and promote abstinence only instead. Republicans pass these policies off as “pro-life” because they claim they hate abortion, and yet, their policies lead to more abortions.
In 2010, publicly funded family planning averted 760,000 abortions, according to a Guttmacher Institute report “Contraceptive Needs and Services 2010” released in July of 2013.
They write, “In 2010, publicly funded contraceptive services helped women prevent 2.2 million unintended pregnancies; 1.1 million of these would have resulted in unplanned births and 760,000 in abortions.”
That’s 760,000-ish abortions that the GOP now owns, by promoting policies that up the number of abortions (bonus for pushing them into unsafe, back alley situations). The Guttmacher analysis continues, “Without publicly funded contraceptive services, the rate of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions in the United States would all be 66% higher; the rates for teens would be 73% higher.”
So, to be clear, Republican policies will lead to 66% increase in unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions — and even more among teens.
Citing a need for austerity, House Republicans have passed budgets that slash funds for family planning clinics and eliminate all federal support for Planned Parenthood and Title X. That’s zero dollars for family planning, even though current law (the Hyde Amendment among many other laws) prohibits health care providers from using federal money to finance abortions.
Yes, that’s right. All of that defunding talk has nothing to do with abortion, and Republicans know it, because it is against the law to use federal money to finance abortions. Federal money goes to health care services and family planning services for largely low income women.
Title X (ten) is a federal grant program devoted exclusively to family planning, signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon in 1970. It supports family planning programs in 4,500 clinics, serving 5 million individuals across the country.
Republicans reveal their real agenda when they speak. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) explained in 2011, “Nobody is saying that Planned Parenthood cannot continue to be the largest abortion provider in America, but why do millions of pro-life taxpayers have to pay for it?”
So called “pro-life” voters are really “pro-abortion” voters, obviously, given the policies they support. And they pay for family planning probably so that they don’t have to pay for all of the poverty stricken unintended pregnancies… But then, taxpayers pay for a lot of things they don’t personally agree with, like wars, which cost a lot more than funding family planning.
And of course, Rep. Pence was wrong – taxpayers were paying to decrease the number of abortions, not paying for abortions. But clearly Republicans are against decreasing the rate of abortions, since research has proven time and time again that the way to decrease abortion is to offer family planning and contraception to low income women and girls.
Indeed, under President Obama, the abortion rate dropped by the largest percentage since 2000: “(F)rom 2000 to 2009 the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 6%, 7%, and 8%, respectively, to the lowest levels for this entire period.”
Republicans can’t even cite “austerity” and budget concerns with a straight face, since The Guttmacher Institute’s study found that public funding for contraceptive services resulted in a net public savings of $10.5 billion:
By helping women avoid unintended pregnancies, public funding for contraceptive services in 2010 resulted in net public savings of $10.5 billion ($5.3 billion of which is attributable to services provided at Title X clinics), or $5.68 for every dollar spent providing contraceptive care.
Family planning saves the public $10.5 billion, so it’s the fiscally conservative approach to the federal budget, and it reduces abortions.
Why are Republicans against public funding for contraception again? Oh, that’s right — because this is all about controlling women, and not really about abortion at all.
Image: Feminist Majority Foundation blog
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.