Bill Aims To End Federal Funding For Abortion Providers

Bill Aims To End Federal Funding For Abortion Providers

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Bill Aims To End Federal Funding For Abortion Providers

 

Reproductive justice advocates have expressed concern over a bill proposed in the first day of the new 113th Congress.  The bill would cut all Title X federal taxpayer funding to organizations that provide abortion services or referrals to abortion practitioners.

Federal laws already prohibit any funding of abortions directly.  This means that the only federal funding that currently goes to abortion providers under Title X is being used to fund non-abortion related services, including sexually transmitted infection screenings, pregnancy testing and prenatal care, and contraceptive and family planning services for men and women.

The organization that would feel the hardest impact from the bill, if it were to pass, would be Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood currently receives approximately half a billion dollars in federal funding per year.  Since over 98 percent of services provided by Planned Parenthood are not abortion-related services (and most Planned Parenthood clinics are not abortion providers), they have been eligible to receive federal funding for the vast majority of their services in the past.

Conservative organizations have lauded the push to deny all federal funding to any group that provides abortions, even if the funding does not go directly to abortions.  Several conservative members of Congress have claimed that the bill is necessary to stop “big abortion.”

Meanwhile, reproductive health experts are expressing dismay over the bill.  Because of a lack of public family planning clinics in many states, eliminating Planned Parenthood funding would result in many counties and metropolitan areas being left without a local low-cost or sliding scale provider of contraception or sexually transmitted disease prevention services.

While the Affordable Care Act requires all health insurance providers to provide contraceptive coverage as part of all health insurance plans, millions of American women are still without health insurance.  States have cut Medicaid eligibility in many areas, especially in the underserved states in the Deep South that rely most on family planning services provided by Planned Parenthood.

 

Because the bill would likely be vetoed by President Obama, it would need a veto-proof majority to become law.  This is not likely with the current Congress, especially because recent public opinion polls show a resurgence in support for reproductive choice.  However, both pro-life and pro-choice groups see the bill as a potential harbinger of things to come—and a clear indication of what Republican reproductive medicine policy would look like.

Source: congress.gov, house.gov, senate.gov

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