Title X Grants, which fund family planning and other preventive health services, are already prohibited from being used to fund abortions by the Hyde Amendment. Yet, in the face of reality, the GOP and right-wing media continue to trumpet the notion that defunding Planned Parenthood will prevent tax dollars from being spent on abortions. This has repeatedly been discredited since the right renewed their “war on the uterus” (I hope that doesn’t offend you) early this year. But they are still at it, now threatening a government shutdown if funding for Planned Parenthood is not cut from the budget.
By now we are all aware that federal funds for family planning facilities ONLY pay for cancer screenings, birth control, family planning visits, annual exams, testing for HIV and other STIs, and other basic care. As I wrote last month, absent publicly funded family planning services, the U.S. abortion rate would be nearly two-thirds higher than it currently is, and nearly twice as high among poor women. According to the Guttmacher Institute, by providing millions of young and low-income women access to voluntary contraceptive services, the national family planning program prevents 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, including almost 400,000 teen pregnancies, each year. These pregnancies would result in 860,000 unintended births, 810,000 abortions and 270,000 miscarriages.
Therefore, stripping funding from any family planning service will clearly result in more abortions. The fact that republicans remain committed to defunding family planning services in the face of these non-debatable facts, demonstrates that abortion is not their only target. They wish to deny women access to contraception as well, which would literally result in forced pregnancies for the low-income women dependent on federal funding for healthcare services. This anti-contraception agenda of the far-right often gets left out of the debate, but there is no more denying that today’s radical right rejects more than just abortion. They reject the very idea of women having control over their lives.