The report comes after Republicans ridiculed the inclusion of what they falsely claimed was $200 million in the stimulus package for family planning. “Democrats capitulated and contraception was gone. Now, it turns out there never was a $200 million budget request for contraception” said blogger Cristina Page.
Page first uncovered the facts about Republican Rep. John Boehner, who, she reported, “made a ‘huge mistake,’ one that conveniently served his interests, and that he didn't step up to correct.”
The contraception provision that was stripped out of the House economic stimulus bill (signed by President Obama last week) would have given states additional flexibility to provide more family planning services to those who qualify for Medicaid.
In addition to highlighting that every dollar invested in helping women avoid an unintended pregnancy saves $4.02 in Medicaid expenditures that otherwise would have been needed for pregnancy-related care, the
Guttmacher Institute report notes that:
• By providing millions of young and low-income women access to voluntary contraceptive services, the national family planning program prevents 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, including almost 400,000 teen pregnancies, each year. These pregnancies would result in 860,000 unintended births, 810,000 abortions and 270,000 miscarriages.
• Public expenditures for family planning in 2006 totaled $1.85 billion, with 71% of those funds coming from the joint federal-state Medicaid program. The role of Medicaid in funding family planning has risen dramatically since the 1980s. The increase was driven by efforts in 21 states to expand eligibility specifically for family planning for low-income women who otherwise would not qualify for Medicaid.
The findings and proposed next steps of the Guttmacher Institute report are supported by voter opinion. An Election Day poll of voters by Lake Research Partners, for the Women Donors Network, found that 72 percent of voters believed the federal government should provide funding for birth control for low-income women.
Fully 86 percent thought couples should have access to all birth control options, including emergency contraception, and that it is their decision whether to use birth control and it should be safe and available.
Eighty percent believed that for women to achieve equality, they must have access to family planning services, including birth control and contraception. These strong findings were consistent throughout the Bush administration as well.Source: PlanetWire.org, 24 February 2009