* (jedifreac) wrote,

Title X Defunded

Earlier today the House of Representatives voted to defund Title X and strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning and women's health services. Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and preventive health services, particularly to low-income families and college students.

Really, because defunding the largest provider of free contraceptives in the entire country is going to stop the unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion.

I'm personally invested in defending Title X funding, and yes, even Planned Parenthood, because during my time in the UCLA student government as a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee, there was a funding shortage for contraceptives on campus due to the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Between 2007 and 2009 at UCLA, the cost of birth control on campus--the most commonly filled prescription--doubled, tripled, or quadrupled for many students, with some forms costing over $700 a year--close to the cost of a UCLA course.

As a result many students were directed to the local Planned Parenthood in Santa Monica (which does not provide surgical abortion services) to receive needed exams, screenings, medications, and referrals.

I don't even know how to begin expressing my disgust for the House of Representatives, the major governing body of my country, for making this decision. Much of my ire is directed towards John Campbell (R-Irvine) because even though I am not his constituent, I grew up in his district. And I remember one frantic weekend, long ago, where I desperately tried to find the (non-existent) Planned Parenthood in Irvine.

What I can't get around is how irrational this decision is. Just some thoughts:

Our country is facing a major deficit, and family planning programs save taxpayer dollars.

There's already the Hyde Amendment, surely there is no need to defund Title X.

This is the same political party that opposes maternity insurance coverage. Our society still looks down on single mothers.

We live in a country where 1 out of 4 teenaged girls has an STD and where many of these girls seek treatment at free clinics like PP.

America punishes our servicewomen for becoming pregnant, but doesn't protect them from rape or provide them with ways to prevent pregnancy.

In addition to Planned Parenthood, UCLA's medical center and several others also providers abortion services. Many are taxpayer funded education institutions.

Taxpayer dollars finance a host of things not everyone believes in, including wars and houses of worship for religions. Taxpayer dollars will be used to finance NASCAR and...birth control for horses.

They are really stepping up to the plate here, trying to reduce the number of Welfare Mares and Anchor Ponies.

As a point person for reproductive health at UCLA, I was able to see access to Planned Parenthood indirectly save students' grades, save their money, arguably even save lives. It was a support service for a number of young women and men at school.

The two local Planned Parenthood that my friends and the majority of UCLA students use don't provide surgical abortions. They don't have an operating room. They have a few clinical exam rooms and bathrooms to take pap smear and pee samples for STD tests and some counseling rooms for explaining how condoms, birth control pills, and the patch work. Most people who go to those Planned Parenthood are trying to prevent themselves from ever needing to have an abortion by getting a hold of birth control and other prophylactics.

I do appreciate Representative Jackie Speier (CA-San Mateo)'s speech about how she sought a necessary--yes, necessary!--abortion

“I really planned to speak about something else, but the gentleman from New Jersey just put my stomach in knots because I’m one of those women he spoke about just now. I had a procedure at 17 weeks pregnant with a child who moved from the [uterus] into the cervix. And that procedure that you just described is a procedure that I endured."

Some abortion procedures--many of them incredibly expensive and rarely if ever taxpayer financed--are necessary. As I previously blogged before, sometimes your developing fetus decides to develop without a head, and when that happens you have to travel very far away and cough up a lot of money to terminate the pregnancy. Usually, the parents--yes, both parents are in the picture--want to have a child, which is why the pregnancy is carried so far into term, only to learn that their child will be born brain dead or with other severe birth defects. Like Anencephaly.

I also appreciate Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) for calling out the Republicans on their argument that blocking funding to PP is really saving black babies,by pointing out that Republican policies have long had “utter contempt for poor women and poor children.” Given Title X programs provide much needed health services to poor communities of color, this House vote did not do them any favors.

"We talk about the need to have jobs in this tough economic time. How can women who have no family planning dollars, sustain a job and get a job when there are unplanned pregnancies?"

For the take-action inclined, there's a Petition to sign here:
Stand with Planned Parenthood Petition and a grassroots Walk for Choice protest scheduled for Saturday, February 26th.
Tags: gender, health, politics

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