There seems to be some mistaken notion out there that the the efforts to limit access to family planning by Republicans are purely abstract and hypothetical and “political” and unlikely to have any real effect on real women, if Democrats win the “message war” on the HHS contraception rule. That isn’t true.
Democrats portray Blunt’s measure as the latest example of a Republican attack on women’s access to health care.
Limiting access to family planning services isn’t a “losing” purely political ploy by Republicans that is then being countered by a “winning” purely political ploy by Democrats. Both sides aren’t doing it. One side is limiting access to birth control, now, today, and the other side is pointing that out. No “portrayal” about it. It’s happening.
We’ll go to Republican actions at the federal , state and then county level, so it’s clear.
First, Title X is a federal program that subsidizes access to contraception, which should be obvious to even the most even-handed, even-steven, fair and balanced political reporter, because this is the name of the Title X program:
The Title X Family Planning program [“Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” (Public Law 91-572)]
Actions at the federal level taken by Republicans to limit access to contraception; Title X:
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 two GOP candidates for the presidency both oppose Title X funding. That’s fact. If a candidate opposes Title X funding, that candidate is vowing to limit access to family planning. It isn’t that complicated. If Mitt Romney intends to eliminate Title X, Mitt Romney intends to limit access to family planning for 5 million people. Title X = family planning for 5 million people. No funding, no Title X.
Actions at the state level by Republicans to limit access to contraception:
The bill would cut $3 million in federal money the state currently allocates to the women’s health group. But the bill also puts Indiana in a financial tight spot as it risks losing $4 million a year in federal family-planning money that would be eliminated because of the state legislation.
Leticia Parra, a mother of five scraping by on income from her husband’s sporadic construction jobs, relied on the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Carlos, an impoverished town in South Texas, for breast cancer screenings, free birth control pills and pap smears for cervical cancer.
But the clinic closed in October, along with more than a dozen others in the state, after financing for women’s health was slashed by two-thirds by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
The cuts, which left many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, grew out of the effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Now, the same sentiment is likely to lead to a shutdown next week of another significant source of reproductive health care: the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which serves 130,000 women with grants to many clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood. Gov. Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers have said they would forgo the $35 million in federal money that finances the women’s health program in order to keep Planned Parenthood from getting any of it.
When Republican governors like Mitch Daniels and Rick Perry refuse to fund Planned Parenthood clinics with Medicaid funds, Republican governors like Mitch Daniels and Rick Perry are limiting access to contraception, because Planned Parenthood clinics are where certain women go to get contraception:
Contraception — 35 percent of services in 2008
Reversible Contraception Clients, Women** 2,263,776
Emergency Contraception Kits 1,436,808
Tubal Sterilization Clients 489
Reversible Contraception Clients, Men 109,823
Vasectomy Clients 2,979
Contraception is the single biggest service Planned Parenthood provides (pdf)
Planned Parenthood clinics = access to birth control for certain women. Again, not that complicated.
Actions taken by Republicans at the county level to limit access to contraception:
After yesterday’s post about county commissioners in New Hanover County, North Carolina, voting to reject state money for family planning, Amber Pickman wrote to tell us about a similar move in Miami County, Kansas.
The Miami County Commission voted 3-2 last week to exclude about $9,000 in funding aimed at covering contraceptives from the county’s state grant applications.
To recap: Republicans have been taking action to limit access to contraception at the federal level since 2010. All of the Republicans candidates for President have vowed to limit access to contraception through Title X. Republicans at the state level are right now, today, limiting access to contraception, because they are defunding the Plannned Parenthood facilities that provide access to contraception, and, finally, Republicans at the county level are limiting access to contraception by zeroing-out funding for family planning programs. Limiting access to contraception is conservative policy, in action, at the federal state and county level, now, today.
Further, these actions by Republicans at the federal, state and county level have nothing to do with President Obama’s announcement of the rule on contraception in the health care law or “religious liberty” because they were attempted, in place or in the works before President Obama’s announcement of the rule. These actions to limit access to contraception have nothing whatever to do with church-owned health care corporations or entities, so are completely unrelated to the nonsensical “religious liberty” smokescreen. Republicans have been and are taking action to limit access to contraception separate and apart from President Obama’s HHS rule.
The answer to the question “are Republicans limiting access to contraception?” is “yes”. The one and only question remaining is how far they’ll go. Will they go to employer-provided health insurance policies and all women, or will this conservative campaign to limit access to contraception remain confined to women who rely on Title X, Planned Parenthood and county-funded family planning services?