The House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill last week that will reduce federal funding for Planned Parenthoods throughout the nation.
The $60 billion federal spending slash, passed by a 240-185 margin, eliminates funding for Title X of the Public Health Service Act. If the legislation is passed, Planned Parenthood could lose a significant amount of its funding to be able to provide contraception, STI treatment and testing and cancer screenings.
According to Ashley Schapitl, press secretary for 23rd District Representative Lois Capps, the cuts would negatively impact the health of millions of women throughout the nation.
“[Capps] really feels [Title X] is a great investment of taxpayer dollars,” Schapitl said. “The Federal Family Planning grant program developed in 1970 under Nixon provides grants to various organizations like Planned Parenthood, for contraception for women, STI treatment, cancer screening, breast exams, and general sex education. Specifically Title X serves 5 million women a year in the U.S.”
Planned Parenthood serves clients at 800 clinics around the nation and receives its funding for preventive services under Title X.
Schapitl said eliminating the services will ultimately prove more costly for the federal government.
“Birth control is obviously cheaper than prenatal care,” Schapitl said. “By cutting this money you may reduce spending in the short term, but it will cause more government spending in the future. This is why [Capps] is a firm advocate of Title X.”
According to Christine Lyon, vice president of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood in the local tri-county area, the Republican majority decided to cut the program’s financial support because of their opposition to abortion.
“As punishment for providing abortions, [Congress] wants to take away all of the Title X funding around the country,” Lyon said. “In some areas, Planned Parenthood is the only organization offering these types of services. If Planned Parenthood went away, where would these women access the same services? It is important to think about the consequences not only for Planned Parenthood but for women.”
Mariam Agazaryan, supporting coordinator for UCSB’s Womyn’s Commission, said the proposal’s supporters are not considering the long-term effects of the program’s elimination.
“What Republicans are trying to do is take away preventative measures,” Agazaryan said. “If Planned Parenthood is gone you will have an increase in pregnancy, and who is going to take care of these kids when they cannot get medical attention they need?”