Why Are Republicans Promoting Unwanted Pregnancies?

Why Are Republicans Promoting Unwanted Pregnancies?

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BY JOHN S. WILSON

Lost in the Republican war against Planned Parenthood and similar family planning clinics — leading to stripped federal and state dollars and clinic closures — are the consequences: far less access to a wide range of preventative care and birth control for low-income women.

On its face, the Republicans’ argument has its merits, one of which is based on morality and the other on economics. They say choking off support for abortion providers will lead to less abortions and re-emphasize our society’s commitment to nurturing life. Furthermore, they believe, it begs the question: to what extent should taxpayer money be used to support family planning services?

That’s a valid question that warrants further discussion.

The Morality Myth

But look deeper at their argument and you’ll see fissures larger than potholes on Baltimore’s most neglected streets. First: the myth of morality: While Republicans would like to redefine Planned Parenthood as being synonymous with abortion, the reality is that abortions accounted for 3% of their services in 2009, according to the WashingtonPost. And it’s the other 97% of services that federal taxpayer funds support, as federal law bars the use of public money for abortions. So if federal law has long provided a remedy for avoiding the financing of abortions, why are Republicans trying to reinvent the wheel?

This isn’t to say Planned Parenthood provides few abortions. Admittedly, they are the nation’s largest abortion provider. In 2009 three million women were served and 329,000 abortions were performed. So one would think Republicans would be supporting all efforts to increase the use of birth control and reproductive care to decrease abortions in the first place. But they aren’t.

Instead, Republicans and their conservative base are attacking, intensely and successfully, federal Title X funding that is the predominant method of financing family planning for low-income women nationwide.

The Economic Myth

In Texas, the Medicaid Women’s Health Program is in jeopardy because Title X funding — which accounts for 90% of its budget — has been suspended due to a state law that illegally restricted health care providers, according to the NewYorkTimes. That would leave 400,000 women without access to preventative and reproductive care, including STI screenings, blood glucose screening, Pap Smears, abstinence counseling, infertility counseling, and a range of contraception methods.

Republicans are on the wrong side of public health and the wrong side of economics. “A 2009 Congressional Research Service report cited federal estimates that Title X helps prevent nearly a million unintended pregnancies annually. Reproductive health experts say that saves money, that every dollar spent on family planning saves about $4 in maternity and infant care,” according to the New York Times.

So this argument comes back to a simple reality: restricting access to birth control promotes the number of unwanted pregnancies, which later cost society far more in medical care and social services. Republicans are rushing to solve a problem we don’t have and are creating consequences that we can’t afford.

In the war against Planned Parenthood Republicans are no doubt winning. In state after state legislatures are stripping funding and turning down federal dollars that provide Title X money for family planning purposes.

JOHN S. WILSON has over four years experience as a freelance journalist with over 100 editorials in regional and national publications, including The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Mediaite, The Grio, CNN, GigaOM, and The Loop 21. His commentary has been dissected on or has appeared in The New York Post, ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann,’ ‘The Young Turks,’ and other national outlets. He can be reached by Twitter @johnswilson1

5 COMMENTS

  1. This makes no sense. I would be *deeply* upset if my children didn't plan their parenting in deference to their capacity pay for their children's needs and to give each the time and care needed to flourish.

    Somebody must be paying for it. I heard a suggestion that it was the Catholic church, motivated by declining enrollment numbers. Wouldn't it be illegal for the Catholic church to finance such politics? Or am I confused about that?

  2. The 3% number is a total lie, and I'm ashamed of you for printing it. You might ask how this Planned Parenthood is a billion dollar industry. Its cash up front abortion money. Isn't it interesting that a black woman is THREE times more likely to get an abortion than a white woman. Why do you think that is? Does a black woman just naturally choose it more? Of course not. There is a reason PP clinics are in mostly minority communities. Good Good, open your eyes. If there is a war, it's on black babies.

    • 3% number isn't a lie at all. It's cited. How is the site you've cited any more credible than the one I did? I don't think the Washington Post would cite a reference that they didn't trust. Furthermore, the fact black women choose it more has more to do with economics than anything else. But instead of seeing that obvious reality, you have chosen to see a racial angle where there is none.

  3. Prevent unwanted children? Teach your children and YOURSELF to keep your pants zipped and your legs crossed! We are tired of paying for your bad decisions .

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