Abortion supporters in uproar over House effort to eliminate federal contraceptive and abortifacient funding
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Republicans in the House of Representatives are aiming to eliminate Title X funding – in which taxpayers fund Planned Parenthood for contraceptives and abortifacients – and dramatically boost funding for abstinence-based sex education.
Abortion activists were quick to decry the elimination of Title X funding by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies as an attack on women.
Defunding is "a giant finger in the eye of women’s rights, and is specifically designed to be so,” a House Democratic aide told the pro-abortion news website RH Reality Check.
Spokespeople for Planned Parenthood and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association likewise decried the move, and Slate's Amanda Marcotte wrote that "by law, Title X funds do not and cannot fund abortion."
However, Family Research Council legislative assistant Jamie Dangers told LifeSiteNews that "according to [the Department of Health & Human Services, Title X] offers FDA-approved contraceptive methods. So, that would include drugs we would consider abortifacient drugs, such as Plan B and Ella."
Critics add that Planned Parenthood is a major recipient of federal tax dollars, and that money is fungible. In 2014, the federal government spent $286 million on Title X funding, which peaked at over $317 million in 2010 and has been on a downward trend since.
However, it is still an open question whether Congress will press to eliminate the funding outright.
When asked what action the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies was planning with regards to Title X funding, spokesperson Stephen Worley told LifeSiteNews that "[Appropriations Committee] Chairman [Thad] Cochran looks forward to consideration of the Senate Labor-HHS bill and remains committed to allowing committee members and other senators a chance to openly debate and vote on its provisions."
The Senate subcommittee will have its mark-up for the 2016 fiscal year on June 23.
The House also added provisions doubling the funds of abstinence-based sex education while dramatically cutting funds for programs that promote teenage sexuality.
The House subcommittee's effort to decrease funding for so-called "comprehensive" sex education that includes contraception and abortion from $100 million to $10 million -- while simultaneously doubling abstinence-only education from $5 million to $10 million -- was praised by National Abstinence Education Association president Valerie Huber.
"Currently, federal funding for sex education is grossly disparate, with 95 percent of all such funding going toward the sexual risk reduction approach that focuses on contraception," Huber told LifeSiteNews. "We applaud [Subcommittee] Chairman [Tom] Cole for bringing parity in emphasis and funding for sexual risk avoidance education which empowers youth to avoid all the potentially negative consequences of teen sex."
"In addition, we commend him for defining the risk avoidance approach using science informed practices. Most sex education merely focuses on pregnancy prevention, but the chairman includes a risk avoidance approach that describes the holistic nature of sexual decision-making. This approach improves future prospects for youth into adulthood," Huber explained.
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Dangers told LifeSiteNews that total federal funding for sex education that includes abortion and contraceptives totaled $960 million in 2014, while abstinence-only education received $51.4 million.