The national battle waged on abortion has begun encroaching on other areas of women’s health care with movements by several states to severely limit or completely deny federal funding that largely provides for breast cancer screenings, pap smears and birth control, rather than let a dime go toward abortions.
Cuts to federal funding — particularly Title X which provides money not only to abortion scapegoat Planned Parenthood but also to clinics that offer necessary free health services to women — have been proposed or enacted in Texas, North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas and Wisconsin. Hundreds of thousands of women will be affected by the high costs of undiagnosed illnesses, higher treatment costs once those illnesses are identified and, of course, unintended pregnancies.
According to this well fleshed out New York Times article, Title X money doesn’t fund abortions, only a small fraction of it goes to pay for birth control and approximately a quarter goes to Planned Parenthood. The rest is utilized by hospitals, clinics, community health centers and state agencies for other women’s health services.
The issue has turned partisan recently on the national stage with Republican presidential candidates voicing their promised opposition to Title X funding should they become elected and President Obama lending his support for the program, which helps about 5 million low-income women annually.
Mitt Romney’s fiscal plan proposes eliminating Title X because it “subsidizes family planning programs that benefit abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.”
Rick Santorum, in a recent debate, acknowledged, to boos, that in Congress he voted for appropriations bills that included Title X money. He pledged to rectify that if elected, saying, “I’ve always opposed Title X funding.”
“Eliminating Title X would not outlaw contraception,” said a spokesman for Ron Paul. “People would simply have to pay for contraceptives with their own money or money donated by private sources.”