Something really wonderful happened in Detroit last week. Mitt Romney, who has been lying about the auto bailout since 2010, was finally, finally called on it.
The word “lie” was used. The words “reckless, detached from reality and dishonest” were used. It was a beautiful thing. I don’t know if this has ever happened to Mitt Romney before in his entire career. They really knocked the stuffing out of him in Detroit.
Unfortunately there is no local or state media outlet to clearly outline the Republican position on birth control as that’s a national/DC issue, so we’re going to have to try piece it together ourselves. Looking into this a little deeper it seems to me, like with the auto bailout, Republicans are not being straight with us on birth control.
There was the Komen fiasco and there was the launch of the bishops’ campaign, but before all that there was Title X.
Over the past 40 years, Title X Family Planning clinics have played a critical role in ensuring access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals. In addition to contraceptive services and related counseling, Title X-supported clinics provide a number of related preventive health services such as: patient education and counseling; breast and pelvic examinations; breast and cervical cancer screening according to nationally recognized standards of care; sexually transmitted disease (STD) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention education, counseling, testing and referral; and pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. By law, Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.
The Title X program also supports three key functions, authorized under the Title X statute aimed at improving the quality of family planning services and assisting clinics with responding to client needs. These functions include: (1) training for family planning clinic personnel through ten regional general training programs and three national training programs that focus on clinical training, enhancing quality family planning services for males, and/or coordination of training activities on the national level; (2) data collection and family planning research aimed at improving the delivery of family planning services; and, (3) information dissemination and community based education and outreach activities. These functions help to ensure that family planning services are evidence-based and of high quality.
The Title X family planning program is intended to assist individuals in determining the number and spacing of their children. This promotes positive birth outcomes and healthy families. The education, counseling, and medical services available in Title X-funded clinic settings assist in achieving these goals.
Each year, the Title X program provides millions of women – regardless of age, income, or marital status – with family-planning and other reproductive-health services. In fact, nearly 75 percent of all U.S. counties have at least one Title X-funded clinic.Each year, more than five million women and men obtain services in almost 4,400 Title X-funded clinics.One in five women obtaining family-planning services depends on a clinic funded at least partially by Title X; for more than eight in 10 of these women, a Title X clinic is their sole source of family-planning services. Most of the women obtaining Title X services are young, poor, and have never given birth. The Title X program provides a particularly important source of affordable health care for women of color, who disproportionately work in low-wage jobs that do not offer health benefits. Nineteen percent of all Title X clients are black and 23 percent identified as Hispanic or Latino,although blacks make up 13 percent and Hispanics/Latinos make up 14 percent of the population. Almost 80 percent of all Title X clients are under the age of 30. Title X is particularly important to low-income women who do not qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is the nation’s largest single funder of family-planning services. However, Medicaid generally limits eligibility to very poor women who are single, have a child (or are pregnant), and meet other stringent requirements. Title X provides services to a broader array of women: women with income under 100 percent of the federal poverty level must receive entirely subsidized services; women with income 101 to 250 percent of poverty are charged on a sliding scale; and women with income over 250 percent of poverty are charged full fees.
•Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.
Note the date. Mitt Romney promised to gut Title X funding well prior to the Komen fiasco and well prior to the launch of the political campaign by the bishops. This is Mitt Romney, so presumably he’s just beating up on low income women here because he thinks it’ll give him half a point in whatever state he’s standing in, but cutting funding to Title X is what he says he’ll do, and Title X (of course) is partly about access to birth control. Title X was bipartisan, at one time:
Title X was approved in 1970, championed on the Hill by former President and then-Congressman George H.W. Bush and signed into law by Richard Nixon.
“We need to make population and family planning household words.” Bush said in 1969 when the legislation was being debated. “We need to take sensationalism out of this topic so that it can no longer be used by militants who have no real knowledge of the voluntary nature of the program but, rather are using it as a political steppingstone. If family planning is anything, it is a public health matter.”
You tell ’em, Poppy Bush!
Like the conservatives who took over the board at Komen, Romney doesn’t care that 5 million poor women currently rely on Title X funding for medical care, the ideological objective (destroying Planned Parenthood) is more important than basic health care for 5 million women. Title X is Komen on steroids.
This is the GOP House on Title X and this is President Obama’s response to the Republican attempt to gut Title X funding:
But when Boehner later asked for the elimination of funds for Title X — spending for women’s health and family planning organizations that also provide abortion services, the aide said the president flatly refused.
The president replied, “Nope. Zero.”
Boehner continued to push to discuss the funds, the aide recalled.
The President repeated: “Nope. Zero.”
Mitt Romney vows to defund Title X. True. Republicans in Congress tried to defund Title X. True. This is not conjecture or an accusation on my part. Romney wrote what he wrote and the GOP House did what they did. After Romney vowed to defund Title X and after the GOP House tried to defund Title X, Komen happened and the bishops launched their campaign.
So. Where are Republicans on birth control? Where are Republicans on Title X funding? Are they opposed to funding Title X because they are opposed to access to family planning? Are they opposed to funding Title X because their ideological objectives are more important than basic health care for 5 million women? Given the Komen situation and then the campaign by certain religious leaders, maybe someone could revisit the Title X funding battle and ask John Boehner and Mitt Romney what it is they object to about family planning. If opposition to access to birth control is now a mainstream position in the Republican Party, women need to know that. If Republicans are using 5 million women as pawns in an ideological battle or to pander to their base, women need to know that.
Maybe we could contact someone in Detroit and see if they’ll ask the question for us?