Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Truth About Cutting Abortion Funding (It Increases Abortions)

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, in a column this morning, discusses the myriad ways a disingenuous and cowardly Congress is messing with our heads over this budget business. One of the more significant disgraces is this: "Republicans are posturing against abortion in a way that would increase the number of abortions," Kristoff writes.

He cites the following:

Conservatives have sought to bar federal funds from going directly to Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Population Fund. The money would not go for abortions, for federal law already blocks that, and the Population Fund doesn’t provide abortions. What the money would pay for is family planning. 

In the United States, publicly financed family planning prevented 1.94 million unwanted pregnancies in 2006, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health. The result of those averted pregnancies was 810,000 fewer abortions. 

Publicly financed contraception pays for itself, by reducing money spent through Medicaid on childbirth and child care. Guttmacher found that every $1 invested in family planning saved taxpayers $3.74. 

As for international family planning, the Guttmacher Institute calculates that a 15 percent decline in spending there would mean 1.9 million more unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 more abortions and 5,000 more maternal deaths. 

You have to believe that, in light of the easily uncovered truth about what these cuts would do, our brothers on the right are posturing for a base that doesn't care about anything but cutting all social programs and stopping all abortions, regardless of the circumstance or the cost.

Nowhere mentioned in those Guttmacher figures is the fact that the world has far too many people and that population is the largest single contributor to almost every problem we have. Most abortions are experienced by poor women who can't afford more children. Who pays for them? One guess. Criminals and drug-addicted outsiders most often come from the poverty classes, the ones the Repubs want to deny abortions.

It's Congress' terrible cycle of ignorance, denial, wrong-headedness, playing to the lowest common denominator and a kind of philosophical puffery that is destroying our system.


  1. I'm prolife. And I wonder if my fellow-believers ever realized that making abortion illegal in this country would do nothing to stop abortions. Drugs are illegal, too. And yet....

    The way to end abortions in this country is to educate young girls and boys on how to prevent pregnancy in the first place. Geez, you'd think folks would have that one figured out by now.

    If people would come down off their ideological thrones, shut up, think and listen, maybe, just maybe we'd make some progress in this country.

    And the one thing about this Planned Parenthood debate: Obamacare covers the same procedures that Planned Parenthood provides. We're double-funding! We can't afford that right now. People will be forced to purchase insurance, or they will be under Medicare or Medicaid. And they will have private doctors. And the insurance policies will cover these procedures (like cancer screenings and family planning). Planned Parenthood supported a bill that could put them out of business. Smart folks.

  2. Why is it those opposed to abortion are generally those who wish to deny funding for low income families? I agree with "anonymous" that education is vital. But let's be realistic, contraception itself is far more effectiv

  3. Scott, when I talked about "education" I also meant contraception. That absolutely should be available. But let's also consider that our current welfare and aid system rewards people for having more children. (And I know this because I have certain family members who have specifically added children to the world so they "could get a bigger check." So. Not. Kidding.) And before I get slammed let me say this: I'm not saying that's the case for every family. It's not. I get it. Don't yell at me.

    I believe (like most on the center-right) that this country needs the social safety nets including medicare and medicaid. It just needs to be a hand up instead of a hand out. (And our government hasn't figured that one out yet.)

    Most of the pro-life folks believe in contraception and family planning. I think you're thinking of the very far right. They are a small minority of the pro-life movement.