Bush Whacks Sexual and Reproductive Health Funding

Lest there be any confusion, the Bush Administration has little values for and no understanding of the need for sexual and reproductive health services. The only question is whether that's due to a complete lack of understanding of human health needs or because undermining sexual health appeases his far-right political base. Need evidence? Check out Bush's budget request.

In a $2.9 trillion dollar budget, Bush did not request even one extra dollar for the program that provides family planning and reproductive health services in every state of the union. This despite that, taking inflation into account, the $283 million for Title X in constant dollars is 59% lower today than it was in FY 1980—all while the need for these services is growing.

This just can't be good for the people who go to clinics in search of fundamental health services—contraceptives; pelvic exams; pregnancy tests; screening for cervical and breast cancer, high blood pressure, anemia, diabetes, and STDs, including HIV; or basic infertility services. And then, it's just not good for our country to have so many deprived of these services.

Turning an eye to the international, Bush seemed to dig a little deeper—and actually proposed cutting $70 million from family planning and non-HIV reproductive health services. So ditto the concern about the people in search of services found at U.S. clinics—but these folks will be living in the poorest countries in the world. The additional idiocy is that while the Bush Administration proposes increased funding for his global HIV/AIDS programs, they gut efforts that are central to HIV prevention. They sing the praises of "linking" or "wrapping around" reproductive health programs with HIV efforts—but they are making that nearly impossible by cutting RH services.

The $302 million request—if approved—would be the lowest level (in actual dollars) for family planning and reproductive health program since 1990—and it's even worse once you put it into constant dollars.

There's plenty in the budget that will raise Congressional ire—and require fixes…let's hope this is one of them.

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