The Family Research Council (FRC) is a savvy bunch.
The FRC, as a reminder, has apparently decided to act on their contention that federal contraception funding (Title X program) is too connected to centers that also provide abortion (because we all know how silly it is for a woman who has received an abortion to be given access to birth control afterwards or for women to be able to receive all or most of their reproductive health care in one place).
But here’s the interesting part:
Who oversees the above mentioned Title X program? Why, it’s Susan Orr. And who is Susan Orr? Dr. Orr is a former top official with the Family Research Council, the very same organization that is now petitioning to severely impair family planning access for low-income women and men in this country.
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If you remember, Susan Orr was the focus of a media frenzy back when she was appointed to her current position as head of our country’s contraception program last year. As a vocal opponent of contraception, it was (and still is) a slap in the face to, well, all Americans who use and access contraception – including the 98% of women who will use birth control at some point in their lives.
Orr is responsible for gems like these:
- In 2001, Orr embraced a Bush administration proposal to "stop requiring all health insurance plans for federal employees" to cover a broad range of birth control. "We’re quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease," said Orr
Orr authored a paper in 2000 titled, "Real Women Stay Married." In it she wrote that women should "think about focusing our eyes, not upon ourselves, but upon the families we form through marriage."
The questions to explore are: was this all a part of a larger strategy conceived of by the FRC once Susan Orr was appointed as head of the Title X program? How could they not have thought, at that time, they would have a real opportunity to inflict severe damage on this public health program with their former colleague and leader at the helm?
And, finally, was this aforementioned strategy discussed with Susan Orr prior to the letter they recently sent? Isn’t this a bit like the oil companies setting energy policy with Dick Cheney?
The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) is working hard to fight these proposed regulation changes that would impose a "domestic gag rule" on what health care providers can and cannot tell their patients as well as significantly restricting funds for family planning programs in this country.
Planned Parenthood relies on Title X funding to provide family planning and contraceptive services to milions of low-income women and men around the country. Which organizations would pick up that slack should the funding be cut off?
More to come as it develops but if you haven’t yet please take a moment to send a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt (and mention Susan Orr’s curious ties to the FRC in your letter as well).