By Shailushi Ritchie, Development and Communications Officer, Women’s Foundation of California
In the last few weeks, there have been numerous stories about efforts to restrict or eliminate federal funding for abortion, including one that essentially redefines rape by excluding situations in which a woman is unconscious, intoxicated, or otherwise incapacitated. Despite the well-deserved backlash, the language remains in the bill proposed by Representative Chris H. Smith.
However, there’s another attack on the reproductive health of women and it’s barely being reported on. The House Appropriations Committee released a list of its proposed spending cuts included in the Continuing Resolution bill. Proposed spending cuts eliminate $327 million for family planning—essentially the entire allocation for the Title X program.
Title X funding goes to clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, for comprehensive family planning services as well as a wide range of other preventive health care, such as basic gynecology care and cancer screenings for women and treatments for sexually transmitted infections for women and men. Planned Parenthood estimates that in 2009, Title X funds covered 2.2 million Pap tests, 2.3 million breast exams, and over six million tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including nearly a million HIV tests.
Cuts like these have a tremendous impact of women and men—teens, college aged women, low-income women, and those who have recently lost their health insurance— who rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary provider of critical health care and health education services.
It seems that, as we sit in the wake of historic health care reform, the US House is seeking to repeal health care for American women, not enhance it.
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