The Obama Economic Stimulus Package that Congress hopes to pass
includes providing the states with Medicaid matching funds to cover
such conditions as diabetes, heart surgery and ongoing health
maintenance like asthma medication. Until today, the Package also
included funds to help poor women afford family planning.
Although many conservatives say they firmly support family planning,
this is certainly not the case in today's Congress. House Republican
leaders ridiculed the stimulus package for including family planning
and now, in the name of "bipartisan compromise," the President and
Congressional Democratic leaders would rather switch than fight for
poor women's reproductive health.
Despite the fact that safe birth control is used by ? and considered
acceptable to ? most Americans, and in spite of the fact that the
prevailing majority attitude is that it is irresponsible to have sex
without contraception unless pregnancy is intended, conservative
Republicans have now prevailed, pressuring President Obama and the
Congress to remove contraceptive funding from the Stimulus Package.
NOW-LA, proud to be "partisan" for ALL women, does not consider this
some gesture of common ground but rather a cave-in to the bombastic
and untruthful statements of the anti-women Republican House leaders.
Meanwhile, because it is generally acknowledged worldwide that family
planning has a positive effect on family health and economic
development, President Obama is restoring UNPFA (International Family
Planning funds), and has lifted the Bush Administration's Global Gag
Rule that banned US funds to organizations who even counseled about
The National Organization for Women declares that it is beyond
hypocrisy to restore international family planning funds while
eliminating such monies for poor women in the United States.
President Obama needs to hear from us ? he needs to hear that women
are angry that something so integral to women's health care has been
given the old heave-ho, without so much as a whimper of a fight. And
Congress needs to hear from us, that we want them to pass the
Medicaid Family Planning Option immediately and fund it
Our Congress is prepared to roll over and abandon women's
reproductive health even when women's lives are literally hanging in
the balance. Surely this is not the time for our allies to sit back,
taking the expedient route of eliminating "contentious" women's
issues from the discussion. Are we only pretending we have a
government friendly to women? Indeed, in spite of promises to the
contrary, women's bodies are being held hostage once again.
Want to understand more about the MEDICAID FAMILY PLANNING STATE
OPTION? There's a good description from the March of Dimes that
gives more information about the Option, which had been introduced as
legislation during the Bush administration but didn't pass.
Here's the link: (cut and paste into browser)http://www.marchofdimes.com/files/MEDICAID_FAMILY_PLANNING_STATE_OPTION.pdf
Contact your congressional representative to voice your concerns today: (Faxing a letter is an excellent way to make sure your message gets in their hands today!)
Steve Scalise (1st District)
Joseph Cao (2nd District)
Charlie Melancon (3rd District)