Planned Parenthood on Bush's budget

When it comes to funding programs that encourage reproductive health, the budget chooses to abstain.

Published February 5, 2008 6:10PM (EST)

Think what you will about President Bush's proposed budget -- but when it comes to sex education and reproductive services, Planned Parenthood believes it'll lead to a different kind of deficit.

Whereas the proposed budget would raise the federal deficit by nearly $250 billion, it also would include a fair amount of pruning. And whereas pruning can be a good thing when it eliminates programs or policies that have been shown to be wasteful, Planned Parenthood asserts that on reproductive health, the budget does just the opposite: It cuts the budget for programs that have been shown to be helpful, and increases the budgets of those that have not.

To be more specific, in a press release issued today, Planned Parenthood criticizes the budget for "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." That is to say, the proposed budget would cut Medicaid funding for family planning by $570 million in FY 2009 and by $3.3 billion over the next five years, would "flat fund" America's family planning program, Title X (Planned Parenthood claims that it's already "drastically underfunded"), and yet increase funding for community-based abstinence education by $27.7 million -- which Planned Parenthood calculates to be a 24 percent increase.

That last bit apparently does not take into account the fact that, as we've reported in the past, 16 governors have rejected abstinence-only funds, and Congress rejected additional funds for it.

Despite the press coverage, the overall budget "stands virtually no chance of being adopted," states the Times. For reproductive health, that's a good thing.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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