Title X In Jeopardy From Anti-Abortion, er, Anti-Contraception Groups

Amie Newman

Anti-choice groups are petitioning President Bush to restrict funding for our most successful family planning program ever.

This is too dangerous not to blog about even though we’ve already published an article about the issue this week by Marilyn Keefe of the National Partnership for Women and Families.

The Family Research Council, backed by an unknown group of 80 anti-contraception groups, has sent a letter to President Bush urging him to make federal funding for family planning centers – Title X funding – more restrictive.

Yes, you read that right.

The same anti-choice advocates who fight so vehemently against legal abortion in this country have requested that rules for Title X funding be changed, according to the letter they sent, "to prevent U.S. taxpayer funds from being used to promote and facilitate abortion."

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Never mind that the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) calls Title X "a true public health success story that helps to prevent one million unintended pregnancies every year, thereby reducing the need for abortion."

And we can forget that family planning clinics, both independent and Planned Parenthood affiliated, help millions of low-income women and men each year with crucial health services.

Finally, let’s make sure we restrict what health care providers in this country can and can’t discuss with their patients as per the Global Gag Rule for international family planning centers.

This is a travesty. According to NFPRHA, however, Title X regulations are being discussed though there is no timeline for changes just yet.

Title X is one of our most effective, if not utterly underfunded, public health programs – and has been since the 1970s. It seems almost absurd that those organizations opposed to legal abortion would also seek to restrict access to contraception – one of the more effective tools to prevent against unplanned pregnancy, don’t you think?

Oh, wait. It’s not absurd at all. These desperate attempts are about ensuring that women and families live according to the agenda and under the will of terrified extremists. It’s not about abortion or contraception, sex or sexuality. It’s about fear. Fear that a society that allows for free will and encourages personal responsibility coupled with a healthy dose of "love and watch out for thy brother and sister" ultimately brings about justice and equality. And with justice and equality comes freedom – we wouldn’t want people to think and behave freely would we?

NFPRHA has written a letter to Secretary Mike Leavitt, of the Department of Health and Human Services. Take action here and let him know Title X must not be messed with.

Look for more coverage on Rewire as we track this for you this week!

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