As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood strongly opposes several policy riders and budget provisions included in the spending bill released by the House Republican Appropriations Committee late last night.
“The Republican spending bill includes several policy riders that undermine and restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.
“Specifically, Planned Parenthood opposes the inclusion of the policy rider restricting the District of Columbia’s right to make its own decisions regarding how to spend local money. Yet again, Republican leaders are attempting to impose their political ideology on the women of the District of Columbia.
“The DC abortion ban rider is yet another example of the hypocrisy of the House leadership, who claim to support states rights, except when it runs counter to their extreme ideological agenda. Including the DC abortion ban rider is a political move to appease a small but vocal minority of opponents of women’s health who have repeatedly demonstrated they will use any opportunity to push their own agenda.
“Congress should allow the District of Columbia to use its own local funds to pay for medically necessary abortion services for low-income women if it so chooses, just as all 50 states are allowed the same option.
“Planned Parenthood also opposes inclusion of new funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs. Study after study shows that abstinence-only programs provide inaccurate information and are not effective at reducing teen pregnancies. Yet, Republican leadership is proposing to shift millions of dollars from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative to these wasteful programs.
“This would be a significant step backwards from the progress that has been made through comprehensive sex education in the last three years. Recent CDC data shows that the teen birthrate has declined for three straight years.
“In addition, Planned Parenthood opposes the provision banning funding for needle exchange in federally funded programs.
“The Republican spending bill also includes longstanding riders that Planned Parenthood strongly opposes, including
-the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal Medicaid funds from being used to pay for abortions
-the Weldon Amendment, which allows hospitals, health care facilities, and insurance plans broad refusal provisions, without offering any protections for patients to ensure they have access to care and information in a timely manner
“Planned Parenthood is also opposed to the budget cuts to domestic and international public health programs that will result in low-income individuals losing access to vital health care. They include
-a $2 million cut to the Title X National Family Planning Program that provides funding for birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive health care for low-income women, subject to across-the-board cuts
-an $11 million cut to the CDC for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD, and TB prevention, subject to across-the-board cuts
-a $5 million cut to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, subject to across-the-board cuts
“Lastly, Planned Parenthood opposes the exclusion of the Lautenberg amendment that would have permanently repealed the restrictive global gag rule. This provision would have expanded access to health care for women abroad. The bill also cuts a common-sense change to the long-standing abortion ban for Peace Corps volunteers that would have allowed access to abortion services for volunteers in the cases of rape, incest or life endangerment.
“Americans are tired of politicians playing politics with women’s health and failing to focus on improving our nation’s economy. Planned Parenthood urges the Republican House leadership to strip the restrictive policy riders from the spending bill and pass a budget that does not include extreme anti-women’s health proposals.”
FACTS ON D.C. ABORTION BAN RIDER
No Federal Tax Dollars Would Be Used to Fund Abortion Services. Despite misleading rhetoric from those who oppose abortion rights, the law is very clear. No federal tax dollars can be used by the District of Columbia to help low-income women access medically necessary abortion services.
Seventeen Other States Use Local Funds to Provide Abortions. Stripping the rider would allow DC to join 17 other states that use state and local funding to pay for medically necessary abortion care for women who otherwise can’t afford it. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
The District of Columbia and its Taxpayers Should Be Treated Fairly. The District of Columbia should have the same ability to control its own tax dollars as all 50 states do, including the option to provide support to low-income women with its local tax dollars. The District’s local general funds are only unique because the District’s spending, unlike the 50 states, is subject to Congressional oversight. These are, however, local taxes paid by DC residents and not by taxpayers in any of the 50 states.
December 15, 2011
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
December 15, 2011