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President's Backwards Budget Cuts Family Planning Programs
Planned Parenthood Calls for Full Funding of Family Planning
WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today roundly criticized the president’s budget for putting politics over women’s health; proposing devastating cuts to funding for Medicaid family planning, which provides access to contraception and other family planning services to low-income women; failing to appropriately fund Title X, America’s family planning program; and increasing funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs.
“The president has this budget backwards,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “He’s increasing funding for programs that don’t work, and decreasing funding for programs that are proven effective.
“The best way to prevent unintended pregnancies and promote healthy families is to invest in Title X and Medicaid family planning programs, and ensure more women and families have access to affordable, quality reproductive health care and comprehensive sex education programs,” said Richards. “Instead, the president’s budget increases funding for dangerous abstinence-only programs that don’t work, and cuts funding for Medicaid family planning that help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.”
The president’s 2009 budget proposes cutting Medicaid funding for family planning by $570 million in FY 2009, and by $3.3 billion over five years. This would have a devastating effect on the millions of low-income women who rely on Medicaid for contraception and other preventive family planning services. The president's drastic proposal would do nothing more than increase the number of unintended pregnancies and the rate of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
In addition, the president’s 2009 budget proposes to flat-fund America’s family planning program, despite the fact that Title X is drastically underfunded. Seventeen million women need publicly funded family planning services. Funding for the Title X family planning should be increased by $100 million in FY 09 to begin to fill this gap and meet the needs of the millions of women who need access to family planning services.
In yet another example of Bush’s backward budget, the president wants to cut the overall budget for Health and Human Services, but insists on increasing funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs. The president’s 2009 budget proposes increasing funding for Community-Based Abstinence Education by $27.7 million, a 24 percent increase. A recent congressional study on abstinence-only programs found they had no measurable impact on increasing abstinence or delaying sexual initiation among participating youth. And, for the first time in 14 years, the teen birth rate has risen. In the last spending bill, Congress sent the president a message by providing no new funding for dangerous abstinence-only programs. Yet, the president continues to fail our teens by refusing to fund comprehensive sex education and stubbornly increasing funding for these dangerous programs.
“The president is putting politics over the health and welfare of our teens,” said Richards. “He insists on increasing funding for dangerous abstinence-only programs when it’s clear that these programs do nothing to help teens prevent pregnancy. The public has rejected abstinence-only; 16 governors have rejected funding for abstinence-only; and just last year Congress rejected additional funding for it. Parents want to see federal funding invested in commonsense sex education programs that provide our teens with the information they need to stay safe and healthy.”
The president’s budget also proposes drastic cuts to these vital programs:
• The president proposes a $500 million cut to the Social Services Block Grants (Title XX). This program helps states achieve a wide range of social policy goals, including prevention of child abuse, care for children and the elderly, and family planning services. The program was funded at $1.7 billion in FY 08 but the president proposes cutting these vital services to $1.2 billion in FY 09.
• The president proposes a $433 million cut in Center for Disease Control (CDC) programs, many of which provide funding for STD screening and treatment. Programs include the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention program, which implements and evaluates effective domestic prevention programs for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STDs, and TB.
• On the international front, the president proposes drastic cuts to family planning. USAID family planning funding is cut by $94 million in the president’s FY 09 budget, and is $23.8 below his request for FY 08, which was $324.8 million.
One highlight of the president’s budget is his proposal to increase funding for drug safety activities. He proposes a $36.1 million increase in funding for drug safety activities, for a total of $389.5 million for the FDA.
As The New York Times stated last month, “Prevention works.” The Times editorial said the best way to reduce the need for abortions is to “focus on helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies.” Sadly, this president’s budget is backwards, puts politics over women’s health, and does not invest in commonsense prevention programs that work.