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Family Planning Again Becomes Political Football
Date:1/27/2009

President Obama and Republican Actions Run Counter to Public Opinion

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Political considerations threatened today to strip funding for family planning from President Obama's huge economic stimulus package, despite Obama's earlier pledges to support the programs and their high level of public approval.

A recent Lake Research Partners poll of voters, done for the Women Donors Network in early November 2008 around Election Day and after the current economic meltdown began, found that 72 percent of voters believed the federal government should provide funding for birth control for low-income women. Fully 86 percent thought couples should be able to have access to all birth control options, including emergency contraception, and that it is their decision whether to use birth control and it should be safe and available. Eighty percent believed that for women to achieve equality, they must have access to family planning services, including birth control and contraception. These strong findings were consistent throughout the Bush administration as well.

Additionally, the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research and policy analysis, points out that Medicaid spending has long proven good for the economy. In its own study in 2007, the Congressional Budget Office found publicly funded family planning would save the federal government $200 million over five years by helping women avoid pregnancies that otherwise would lead to Medicaid-funded births.

Publicly funded clinics provided contraceptive services last year that helped women avoid 1.4 million unintended pregnancies that would have resulted in 640,000 unintended births and 600,000 abortions. Without these services, abortions would have risen by 49 percent, the Guttmacher Institute says in a statement.

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SOURCE PLANetWIRE.org
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