As members of the anti-choice Republican and Tea Party House majority debated allowing women to die to salve the “consciences” of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and using the tax code to virtually eliminate insurance coverage for abortion in the United States, the GOP/Tea Party majority took another brazen step.
It moved to dismantle Title X, the nation’s family planning program.
The House Appropriations Committee announced in a press release today a $327 million cut to family planning. For FY 2010, $317 million was appropriated for the Title X program, but the President’s FY11 budget request was for $327 million.
“Today, the House Leadership launched its latest outrageous attack on women’s health,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The House Leadership’s FY 2011 Continuing Resolution proposes to completely eliminate the Title X family planning program, which has connected millions of American women with health care since Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1970.”
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Put another way, the House Appropriations Committee wants to ensure that more low-income women experience unintended and untenable pregnancies, and that they are then forced to bring those to term. And along the way, by cutting Title X, Congress will also ensure that more women die of breast and cervical cancer and more people suffer from sexually transmitted infections. This is dictatorship over women’s lives.
“Unbelievably,” Richards continued, “the House Leadership has set its sights on abolishing a program that provides lifesaving and preventive care to millions of women and saves taxpayers money by helping women plan their families. This is an extreme proposal, and the new leaders of the House are pushing it forward at great risk to women and at their own political peril.”
Title X provides millions of women across the country with access to basic primary and preventive care, such as lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, STI testing and treatment, and annual exams. In fact, six in ten women who access care from a family planning health center consider it to be their main source of health care. In 2009 alone, Title X providers performed 2.2 million Pap tests, 2.3 million breast exams, and over six million tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including nearly a million HIV tests.
“Under the guise of cutting the budget, the House Leadership is launching an all-out assault on women’s health. The simple fact is, family planning programs like Title X save money. For every public dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save nearly $4.
“[This] proposal to eliminate the Title X program is bad policy, bad politics, and flat out immoral,” stated Richards. “That’s why we urge Congress to reject this dangerous proposal.”
And if they really represented the people of this country, they would indeed reject it.
The Center for American Progress highlights a CBS/New York Times poll showing that a majority of Americans oppose cuts to health care.
“The CBS/New York Times survey found that people want the deficit reduced through spending cuts rather than tax increases by a margin of 77 percent to 9 percent, but they oppose cuts for health care and education as a means of reducing the deficit — by a margin of 67 percent to 27 percent. Rank-and-file Republicans were more willing to cut these programs than either Democrats or independents but they still rejected such cuts by a margin of 52 percent to 40 percent.”
It would appear that the current House leadership is brazenly ignoring the “will of the American people” they are so fond of citing and working instead to impose its own ideology, and build a power base upon a combination of corporate and special interest money from religious fundamentalist groups.
But again, as we know from recent events in Egypt and elsewhere, that’s what dictators do.