Echoes of Change to Come


Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

Bob Dylan – 1964

Last week, Susan Orr resigned as head of the Title X (federal reproductive health grant)
program. Dr. Orr is not a supporter
of hormonal contraceptives
,
so the resignation is welcomed by the reproductive health and reproductive
rights community. We hope it is a sign of change to come.

Walking the halls
of Congressional offices last, I imagined echoes of change. Were they echoes
from the past or the future? New voters are registering, activists
are organizing, and communication technologies are harmonizing old and new ideals
and activists
.
The current President and Congress united the old activist generation
with a new generation of young activists and advocates by insulting
and injuring all of us with a $1.5 billion federally endorsed chastity
belt called ‘Abstinence-only
Education,’
which
many reports classify as ineffectual at best. A new President and Congress
could instead stop wasting $300 million every year and invest the money
in proven comprehensive sexuality
education
programs.

This is a good time to plan
ahead and to advocate for health care policy change – especially
for reproductive health care
. We know that access to voluntary
and confidential contraception, STD testing and treatment, and comprehensive
sexuality education is affordable, achievable, and long overdue.

The Wisconsin Family Planning
and Reproductive Health Association (WFPRHA) recommended to an Institute
of Medicine Review Committee (IOM) on Monday, May 19, that
Title X, Medicaid-paid family planning, and access to public prescription
drug pricing should be interwoven into a national
reproductive health safety-net
.
The proposal would prevent unintended pregnancies among low income women
and free
up millions of dollars

for preventive primary health care.

Here is a 2009 inaugural chorus
we can sing together next year proudly and loudly:

  • Save millions of
    taxpayer dollars.
  • Improve maternal
    and child health.
  • Protect and enable
    men and women to determine for themselves whether and when to have children.
  • Educate for reproductive
    wellness and responsibility.
  • Reduce the need
    for abortion.
  • Prevent sexually
    transmitted diseases and cancer.

And, as unconscionable as the
disparities across the U.S. are in access to reproductive health care,
around the world they are even less defensible. While they’re at it, the
next President and the next Congress should also take the abstinence-only chastity belt off
the President’s HIV/AIDS assistance program

(PEPFAR). Removing that restriction would help achieve worldwide access
to primary preventive reproductive health care.

WFPRHA laid out a plan to the IOM, but whether we unite behind that
plan or another, it is time for all of us to think and plan ahead and
to speak out at every political and public policy event for the right
to universal access to evidence-based reproductive health care and education.

To our elected officials, we
need to be clear that on reproductive rights and health care and education:
"You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times
they are a changin’."

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  • invalid-0

    Mr Newman’s thoughts are right on the “MONEY”. Abstinence-Only funding could be put to much better use. It has been proven that Abstinence-Only Education does not work. Share this money with Family Planning Orginizations who would put it to much better use. Most Americans do not realize the need for reproductive health care for low income women, no, make that for ALL WOMEN. Family Planning Orginizations do. Title X funding is given only to certain orginizations who tie it up in administrative expenses. The money just does not get used to help the people who really need it.
    The WFPRHA proposed National Reproductive Health Safety-Net is an excelent idea. Hard times may be coming. More people will be needing help. We must use our votes to get the people elected who can help us with this plan. Our current adimistration puts the need for Abstinence-Only first. Lets elect candadates who will put the ACTUAL reproductive health needs of our American Women first.

  • invalid-0

    Mr. Newman has some excellent ideas!!! Family Planning Agencies need and deserve more funding. I agree with Mr. Newman’s proposals.