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Category: Politics, Economy, Health, Reproductive Rights

The New Budget Cuts Out Women

February 16, 2011

President Obama’s most recent speech on the budget addressed the problems related to sacrificing the future in exchange for expediting a decrease in the deficit. The new proposal for Fiscal Year 2011 is threatening the Title X family planning programs. Unfortunately, congress is proposing to stop funding this successful program because, in their perception, in comparison to the other challenges this country faces, it is not that important. Title X is a program that provides sexual health education and information to prevent unintended pregnancies and STD’s. The past, current, and future budget look like this:

Budget for Title X Family Planning Programs

2010: $316 Million

2011: $0

2012: $327 Million

There are some who don’t believe that it is even necessary. I was talking to a male, very close to me, about the new proposal to cut all funding to Title X Family Planning services. He said, “Really? Good! Do you really need the government to give you a free condom? It means ‘Close your legs!’” His mentality seems to align with House Speaker John Boehner and other members of the House who actually believe that cutting funding to the family planning programs is a movement towards success.

For someone with daughters and a wife, he seems to be overlooking some major factors about Title X and Family Planning services that provide them most basic health care to women. Health and sexual education for a male may be reduced to free condoms. For women, this cuts off access to the most essential health services like pap smears (a pre-cancer screening) and knowledge about their reproductive organs and health. It is not only about unplanned pregnancies and abortion. But that is important, too. I grew up in the South, where fake clinics and anti-choicers run rampant with their signs, slogans, and shaming.

Education is necessary for a human to make informed decisions about their bodies. The pregnancy rate at my high school was 33%. What will that mean for all of us in 20 years? What is most misleading about this section of the new budget proposal is its title, “Helping Women and Girls Win the Future.” Since women have the biological ability to give birth to new boys and girls, shouldn’t this be called, “Helping the U.S. Population Win the Future”? Or “Helping the Next Generation Win the Future”? Or “Helping the Future”?

What we are talking about is not women and girls since 49% of the population is male. Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled,”Eat the Future” building on what Obama discussed in his speech about sacrificing the future; “Why cut a billion dollars from a highly successful program that provides supplemental nutrition to pregnant mothers, infants, and young children?”

In reaction to the complete changes in the 2011 FY budget proposal Krugman said, “[the new budget] is a plan that would save remarkably little money but would do a remarkably large amount of harm.” Essentially, we are left with this: 

1. This would cut funding to public health services like annual pap smears, knowledge about common issues regarding a woman’s health.

2. This would cut access to birth control through these public health services. Birth control prevents unintended, unwanted, and unplanned pregnancies.

3. This would cut public funding for abortion. This wouldn’t be so bad if (1) and (2) did not exist.

Then, at least we can have a chance. Meaning:

1. If you get pregnant, you must have the money to pay for pre-natal care, pregnancy exams, and check-ups to ensure the health of the baby.

2. If you get pregnant, you must have the several hundreds of dollars to have an abortion. Abortion is a time-sensitive procedure. So once the pregnancy test says, “positive” you must have the $500+.

3. Do not have sex, protected or unprotected. HPV is transferred through contact of the skin, and is detected through annual pap smears. Pap smears are the most basic form of health care for women. They are a pre-caner screening, but nobody like to call it that.

4. Your access to birth control will be severely cut from any provider other than your doctor, whom you can go to if you have proper insurance.

In conclusion: Women, do not have sex!* *Unless, you are rich.

To take action, check out this link: From Women of Color Policy Network

Please join us in opposing these cuts by joining the SAVE For All (Strengthening America’s Values and Economy For All) Campaign, a new initiative launched by the Coalition on Human Needs to protect the economic security of low-income communities and SAVE the federal capacity to spur economic recovery and progress for the benefit of all. Organizations are encouraged to sign on to the campaign’s statement of principles by February 16th.