2010 Budget Slashes Funds for Ab-Only, Leaves Abortion Funding Restrictions in Place
All eyes were on President Obama’s newly-released 2010 budget
yesterday. RH Reality Check offers two pieces analyzing the budget, the first explaining the
reproductive health and family planning provisions and the second
taking an in-depth look on the move to fund "teen pregnancy prevention"
programs over abstinence-only-until marriage programs.
The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler gives a terrific run-down on the funding structure supporting the new teen pregnancy reduction initiatives:
In total, the Obama budget proposes $164 million for teen-pregnancy
prevention. Of that, about 25% would be open to abstinence-only
programs, which would have to compete with other initiatives. The rest
of the money is reserved for programs that have been proved "through
rigorous evaluations" to be successful, the administration proposal
But Meckler also reminds us that "like other proposed cuts in the budget, it isn’t clear whether
Congress will go along. Liberals have derided abstinence-only education
as ineffective and even misleading, but the Democratic-controlled
Congress has continued to fund the programs."
And as for the future of abstinence-only funding itself:
Abstinence-only is funded through two pots of money, one that funds
community-based programs directly and must go through the annual
appropriations process ($95 million this year), and one that gives
funding to states and is automatically funded each year ($50 million
this year). The larger program was created amid complaints that states
were skirting the intent of the program by focusing on mentoring and
other activities. In recent years, in fact, nearly half the states have
declined to accept this funding, which required state matching funds,
partly because they didn’t like the restrictions.
Mr. Obama is asking Congress to kill both of those programs. In
their place, he is creating two new programs, both oriented toward the
broader goal of reducing teenaged pregnancy.
The first program, which would be subject to annual appropriations,
would cost $110 million, plus $4 million to evaluate funded programs.
Much like the program it is replacing, community-based programs could
apply directly to the federal government for funding. Seventy-five
percent of the funds would be set aside for programs that have been
proved, through "rigorous evaluation," to delay sexual activity,
increase contraceptive use (without increasing sexual activity) or to
reduce teen pregnancy. An administration official said that no
abstinence-only programs have met those standards.
The rest of the money would be available to develop and test
"innovative strategies" for preventing teen pregnancy. Officials said
abstinence-only programs could qualify for these funds.
The second new program would be $50 million in automatic funding to
the states. An administration official said it would be subject to the
same 75%-25% split.
Ben Smith points out that cutting off abstinence-only funding "will cut
off streams of funding to religiously oriented groups allied with the
Bush White House."
Meanwhile, the Center for Reproductive Rights’s Nancy Northup writes on Huffington Post
that "I am deeply disappointed with President Obama’s failure to strike
government funding restrictions on abortion, particularly the Hyde
Amendment, from his proposed budget for 2010." Northup explains, "The
President’s budget abandons the millions of women who rely on
Medicaid and other federal programs for health services, including
federal employees and their spouses and dependents, women served by
Indian Health Service, women in the Peace Corps and in federal prisons."
And the Washington Times
picked up on the fact that Obama lifted a ban on using public funding
for abortion in the District of Columbia, despite leaving the Hyde
Amendment in place. "Under his proposal, the District for the first
time in more than a
decade would be allowed to pay for abortions with the money it raises
from its own taxpayers."
And for good measure…
Will Saletan looks at whether the abortion "compromise" strategy Steven Waldman is pushing
– "safe, legal, and early" (wider access to medication abortion, and Medicaid funding for first-trimester abortion) — is workable, politically and practically. Happy Friday, everyone!
Other News to Note
May 7: CNN: Testosterone gel effects in children spur FDA warning
May 7: Wonkette: Meghan McCain Reveals Nothing In New Column About Nothing
May 7: One News Now: Local police shut down Slovak pro-life demonstration
May 7: Catholic News Agency: Texas bill proposes to punish infanticide with mere two-year maximum in jail
May 7: HuffPost:Tom Ridge On GOP: "We’re Too Doggone Shrill" (VIDEO)
May 7: Feministing: Local St. Louis Company Bans Pro-Choice People
May 7: NARAL: Supreme Court Vacancy and YOU – Share Your Ideas
May 7: St. Louis Dispatch: Minors should need parental consent for contraception
May 7: Feministing: What Your Doctor Might Not Know About Birth Control–And Why It Matters
May 7: Live Science: How Safe Is the Pill?
May 7: AP: Kan. Senate roll call on anti-abortion bill
May 7: CBS News: Abortion, The Morning After Pill, And Teens–Where To Draw The Line?
May 7: Talking Points Memo: Feminists: We Have Work To Do