Taxpayer Funding and Women’s Reproductive Rights
The present system of taxpayer funding for contraception and abortion, especially for lower income women, is under increased scrutiny and controversy as the supposed funding for abortions at taxpayer expense comes under fire. The recent cuts to the women’s health and family planning program and the defunding issues regarding Planned Parenthood are once again in the public eye.
Yet, what are the real issues causing the present controversy between the pro-life and the pro-choice movements? What exactly are the services being provided? Who is paying for what? Should taxpayers fund contraceptive care and pregnancy counseling?
- Dianne Edmondson: Executive Director, Republican National Coalition for Life
- Karen Garnett: Executive Director, Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas
- Ken Lambrecht: President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of North Texas
- Stephen McKernan, DO, FAAFP, CEO, Lone Star Family Health Center
There has long been an argument over taxpayers funding contraceptive care and divisiveness over government funding to Planned Parenthood by those who oppose abortion and claim that is in large part what the organization does. Diane Edmondson of Republican National Coalition for Life says, “We have cut funding to Planned Parenthood very intentionally… Federal law allows states to set qualifications for any provider receiving Medicaid funds. By eliminating providers such as Planned Parenthood – which are narrow in scope, we can actually provide better care to (low income) women.”
Yet the argument from Planned Parenthood and other family and women’s health providers is the urgent need for more access to health care not less. Ken Lambrecht of Planned Parenthood tells us: “The national average for physicians to patient’s ratio is 200 physicians to every 100,000 people; in Texas it is 157 physicians for every 100,000. In Texas, ¼ of women are uninsured, yet Texas has the 3rd highest rate of cervical cancer and the 4th highest rate of teen pregnancy. With Planned Parenthood representing 40-45% of health care visits via the women’s health care programs, women will not have anywhere to go. This issue is not about abortion… it’s about access to care. Our mission is prevention. We are the medical home to 1 of 5 women in the U.S. at some time in their life. ”
Karen Garnett of Catholic Pro Life Committee argues, “We can’t take abortion out of the equation. It is morally objectionable for many tax payers to have any of their tax dollars going to an organization that performs abortions.”
Dr. McKernan of Lone Star Family Health Center expresses his concerns for the need for access to comprehensive health care for low income women and their families. “The reality of this is that 185,000 women receive care through the women’s health care program; another 220,000 through the family planning program. These cuts could decimate these programs- that’s 400,000 women who will not have access to preventive care. The Legislature wasn’t thinking well.”
The issues surrounding who should pay for what and what gets funded by whom is not going away anytime soon. Yet this is an issue that affects us all- the tax payer and the people who need care and can’t afford the cost. We hope you tune in, question the perspectives our panelists offer and get involved – from whatever position you believe to be the fair one.
Thank you once again for joining us on issues that really matter with people who really care:
Niki Nicastro McCuistion, CSP
Co-founder and Executive Producer
Management and Strategic Analyst
2005 – 06.24.12