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Vulnerable Women and Contraception: Obama Turns Clock Back Nearly 100 Years

3:31 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Carole Joffe for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

See all our coverage of the Administration’s 2011 Emergency Contraception Reversal here.

“For a woman to ‘ask her physician’ for a safe and effective contraceptive  presupposed that she had a physician, that she could afford a contraceptive, and that the physician would be willing to give it to her, regardless of her marital status.”

These are the words of the historian Sheila Rothman, writing about the setbacks Margaret Sanger faced in the 1920s and 1930s in trying to realize her vision of making birth control widely available to all women, including the poorest—and about the ultimate “ownership” of contraceptive services during that era by physicians. Sanger’s original vision was a fleet of clinics, to be run by public health nurses. But as Rothman and others have documented, when she attempted to open such clinics, she experienced repeated arrests and the closures of her facilities, as contraception was then illegal. In the years leading up to the 1965 Supreme Court Griswold decision, which legalized birth control for married persons, only physicians were legally permitted to provide such services, and as the quote from Rothman implies, this situation put poor women at a tremendous disadvantage.

Rothman’s critique, written in the 1970s about events in the ‘20s and ‘30s,  is remarkably relevant to today’s leading reproductive controversy: the Obama administration’s overruling of the FDA decision to allow over-the-counter status of Plan B, an Emergency Contraceptive product, for young women under the age of seventeen. If one substitutes “teenager” for “woman” and “Plan B” for “a safe and effective contraceptive” in Rothman’s quote, one can readily appreciate how, once again in America’s longstanding reproductive wars, the needs of the most vulnerable are willfully neglected.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama justified the Administration’s action because of concerns about pre-teens’ ability to use EC correctly. But as been repeatedly observed, only a tiny portion of this age group is sexually active.  It is 15- and 16-year-olds who are sexually active in far greater numbers, and therefore, far likelier to have need of EC (and to be able to use it correctly). But many in this group do not have a primary health care provider to whom they can go for a prescription.  Some of those who do have a relationship with a provider may be too embarrassed, or afraid of a breach of confidentiality, to ask for such a prescription.

To be sure, some things have improved in the contraceptive world since the dominance of private practice physicians in Margaret Sanger’s time. In 1970, Congress authorized the Title X program, which made federal funds available for family planning services for poor women including, notably, teenagers. (As a sign of how much the reproductive battle lines have hardened in the last 30 years, Title X was signed by a Republican president, Richard Nixon, and one of its most enthusiastic sponsors in Congress was a future Republican president, George H.W. Bush). A number of contraceptive products are available on the shelves of drugstores.

And it is no longer just physicians who can advise and dispense contraception. In public health clinics and Planned Parenthood facilities, nurses are in fact the main providers of contraception. We can hope that some portion of those teenagers who need EC can find their way to a Planned Parenthood or other Title X site in the three day window in which the drug is most effective.

But this recent decision of the Obama administration on EC occurs, of course, in an atmosphere in which Republicans in Congress are attempting to abolish Title X, and various states have defunded Planned Parenthood, leading to a closing of numerous clinics. The reproductive wars drag drearily on—and in our times, as in Sanger’s, the most vulnerable of women pay the greatest price.

“For a woman to ‘ask her physician’ for a safe and effective contraceptive  presupposed that she had a physician, that she could afford a contraceptive, and that the physician would be willing to give it to her, regardless of her marital status.” “For a woman to ‘ask her physician’ for a safe and effective contraceptive  presupposed that she had a physician, that she could afford a contraceptive, and that the physician would be willing to give it to her, regardless of her marital status.”

House Republicans Propose a Massive Step Backwards in Sex Education and Women’s Health

8:48 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

House Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers. Photo: Gage Skidmore on flickr

House Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers. Photo: Gage Skidmore on flickr

Written by Martha Kempner for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Last week, House Republicans released their version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill in an attempt to make their mark in Senate negotiations. (The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill the week before.) While this version is not expected to be marked-up or voted on, it shows how House Republicans are thinking and that’s a little frightening.

Using “fiscal responsibility” as a rallying cry, they propose gutting programs that help young people and women yet are willing to sink new money into abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that have been repeatedly proven ineffective.

The proposed bill cuts funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative from $110 million to just $20 million.  The new initiative, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), funds a total of 102 grantees in 36 states and is set to reach over 800,000 young people annually.  It began in FY 2010 and was designed to support “medically accurate and age-appropriate programs to reduce teen pregnancy and underlying behavioral risk factors.”  Many saw this as the Obama Administration’s answer to the Bush-era investment in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs which did not work.  Not only would the cuts force the government to drastically reduce the number of grantees receiving money, the proposed bill also removes the important requirement that all programs be evidence-based, which disregards the intent of the initiative and makes room for abstinence-only programs to apply.  Read the rest of this entry →

House Once Again Seeks to Eliminate Funding for Family Planning, Planned Parenthood and other Health Services

9:24 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

The House GOP is nothing if not determined to show just how little regard they have for the health and well-being of women in this country.

Just a day or two after launching a politically-motivated “investigation” of Planned Parenthood–demanding audits with taxpayer funds of programs that have already been audited with taxpayer funds–the House leadership released a draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill that is a retread of attacks on women and the working poor. The bill would:

  • Prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood through programs such as Medicaid which provides low-income women with preventive health care, including birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment;
  • Eliminate funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, which provides access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other family planning services to five million low-income women each year, and through which women can avoid unintended pregnancies that would otherwise lead to abortion;
  • Ban insurance coverage of abortion in the new health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act — taking away a common health benefit that most women currently have;
  • Prevent the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (the health care reform law passed last year by Congress), and eliminate the new benefits that include insurance coverage of women’s preventive services like mammograms, cancer screenings, and birth control, with no additional co-pays;
  • Cut the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative by $64.79 million — from $ 104.79 million to $40 million — stipulating that $20 million of that money must be used for grants to provide ineffective, abstinence-only education; and
  • put in place a sweeping new refusal provision that undermines patients’ access to quality health care, effectively imposing a religious ideology test on access to essential care.

According to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the draft bill would prohibit any funding under the bill from going to any Planned Parenthood affiliate unless the organization promises not to perform abortions with non-federal funds.

“Remarkably, said the Congresswoman, “these particular health care providers—and the patients they serve—would be denied federal funding for any purpose unless they agree to stop providing a lawful medical service using funds from patients and other non-federal sources. The main effect would probably be to prohibit Medicaid patients from choosing to receive services such as contraception and cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood clinics.”

This is of course not the first time that the House has sought to do these things, the motto being if at first you don’t succeed in gutting women’s health care, try, try again.

Earlier this year Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor made explicitly clear that they were willing to shut down the government over funding for family planning and took the country to the brink until President Obama finally called their hand.  Several efforts have been made to pass bans on abortion coverage in health reform–prohibiting women from paying for policies with their own money.  The desire of the GOP and Tea Parties to eliminate evidence-based approaches to anything, including teen pregnancy prevention has long been clear.  And right-wing politicians have made no secret of their lack of respect for gender-specific health needs, such as birth control, mammograms, and maternity care. 

As outlined in a detailed analysis of the bill from the office of Congresswoman Delauro, the proposed appropriations bill would, among other things, also:

  • Overturn 75 years of practice by removing the protections of the National Labor Relations Act from workers in any firm that falls within the SBA’s definition of “small business”—a definition broad enough to encompass companies with a thousand employees in some cases.

  • Prohibit local public radio stations from using any funds they receive from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to acquire programming from one particular provider that has evidently been singled out for the Republican majority’s displeasure—National Public Radio.

  • Block Education Department rules designed to protect students and taxpayers from those for-profit colleges with the very worst records as far as student debt loads and defaults.

  • Prohibit use of funds to implement almost any part of the Affordable Care Act. (It makes exceptions for certain Medicare payment regulations and a few provisions relating to drug costs under Medicaid.)

  • Reduce Pell Grant Assistance to students who are working while going to school.
  • Make large cuts to the Centers for Disease Control.


“There are at least 50 million people in this country without health coverage,” DeLauro said, “and yet all that we hear from the Republican majority on this subject is “no”. The bill’s prohibition would prevent use of funds to implement reforms like prohibiting insurance companies from excluding pre-existing conditions for children, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ policies, and placing restrictions on lifetime and annual coverage limits, to give just a few examples. It would also deny funds to implement the interim “risk pool” coverage for uninsured people with health problems and to continue putting in place the systems needed for full health reform implementation in 2014.”

The bill, according to DeLauro, contains at least 40 brand new legislative provisions and riders, many of them highly controversial, and most dealing with complicated subjects well outside the expertise of the Appropriations Committee from which it originates. It “injects a whole host of new, contentious legislative issues into the process,” DeLauro noted, “most of them quite extraneous to the task at hand of setting funding levels for federal agencies and programs for the upcoming fiscal year.”

Public health and rights advocates and providers of essential health care are outraged at this newest attempt to compromise the lives of women throughout the country.

“This budget not only guts effective programs that keep women and families healthy, it will make women and families worse off economically, at a time when they are already struggling,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“We believe in protecting a woman’s ability to make personal, private decisions with her doctor, and Speaker Boehner’s budget violates these fundamental American values in several ways,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“The Boehner Budget would defund Title X, the nation’s family-planning program, which serves millions of Americans each year. It also would effectively end private insurance coverage of abortion in state health-insurance exchanges. How will taking away women’s freedom and privacy lead to the job creation he promised voters?”

“This budget is further evidence that Republican leaders have no new ideas and are merely recycling failed attacks that undermine women’s health,” said Richards. “Eliminating funding for the Title X family planning program and prohibiting Planned Parenthood from providing preventive health care through federal programs will result in millions of women across the country losing access to basic primary and preventive health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment.”

“At a time when Americans desperately want and need Congress to focus on fixing our economy and creating jobs, House Republican leaders are instead continuing their campaign to take away preventive health care and affordable birth control from millions of women,” said Richards.

A bill is so laden with policy riders, restrictions and elimination of key program guarantees that efforts to pass an FY 2012 spending bill will be fraught with conflict, especially since it differs so greatly from the version passed by the Senate.

“If these documents represent the position [House leadership] intends to take into negotiations with the Senate,” said DeLauro, “it looks like we’re in for a long, difficult process. After a year of contentious budget debates, radical proposals from the new majority, and multiple threats of government shutdowns and even defaults, there had been hope that we’d be able to put all that behind us for a while and complete action on fiscal year 2012 appropriations in a reasonably timely and cooperative manner based on the spending levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act enacted last month. Judging from these proposals, though, the Republican majority doesn’t seem to be on board for that goal.”

Bottom line: If you are not a white male Republican or Tea-Party follower, you can stick it.

Creating Jobs? Too Hard. Florida Republican Instead Investigates Planned Parenthood

8:30 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.


Congressman Cliff Stearns. Photo: The Daily Marion

You know how jobs, the deficit, lack of health care, and the country’s economic crisis are top priorities?

Florida Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns apparently does not.

Stearns, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, is using taxpayer funding to investigate Planned Parenthood Federation’s “use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on funding of abortion,” as per a letter he sent to PPFA President Cecile Richards.

He’s doing this even though taxpayer-funded audits have already consistently confirmed that Planned Parenthood follows all the rules.  Planned Parenthood is regularly audited by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Inspector General; state Medicaid programs also regularly audit Planned Parenthood and report publicly on their findings.  Given the level scrutiny under which Title X and Title XIX providers already operate and the state-based witch hunts constantly carried out at the behest of far right legislatures, it would seem to be a complete waste of taxpayer funding to conduct this investigation.

Note to Congressman Stearns: Your own state has 10.7 percent unemployment. Think there might be better things to do? Read the rest of this entry →

Public Funding of Family Planning is Essential, Even Under Health Reform

7:06 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Britt Wahlin and Amanda Dennis for – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

This week, as we celebrate the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, which promises to bring great benefits to women in this country, new threats to women’s health care have emerged. Last month the House of Representatives voted to eliminate federal funding of Planned Parenthood and cut entirely the Title X program, which supports family planning clinics across the country. Though the Senate has since rejected this proposal, House Republicans have vowed to continue to push for these cuts.

Many have spoken out about the harm this would have on low-income women, who rely on Planned Parenthoods and other family planning clinics for important preventive care like contraception and cancer screenings. Even in Massachusetts, where 98 percent of residents have health insurance due to groundbreaking state health reform, such cuts would be devastating.

Massachusetts has a robust network of family planning clinics, Planned Parenthood among them, which offer contraceptive services and counseling, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and cervical and breast cancer screening on a sliding fee scale. In the wake of Massachusetts reform, family planning clinics continue to play a role in providing services to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents.

In 2008, a year after Massachusetts’ health reform law took effect, Ibis Reproductive Health and the Massachusetts Department of Health Family Planning Program undertook research to explore the impact of reform on low-income women’s access to contraception. We conducted a survey and interviews with family planning providers and also held focus groups with English- and Spanish-speaking low-income women.

We found that health reform has provided a number of benefits to women and many women expressed relief over finally having insurance.

But our research also uncovered new barriers. … Read more

(VIDEO) Who Do You Trust? Cute Bunnies Or a Woman?

8:16 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amie Newman for – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

This is a story of me and two TV ad spots. First, I viewed the American Life League’s newest video that, according to some on Twitter, “will make pro-aborts see red.” Honestly, it makes me puzzled more than anything else. I think ALL and their GOP supporters are in desperate need of sex-ed and a lesson in exactly what Title X, the family planning program they’re crowing about, does. I wondered what cute little bunnies had to do with abortion and pregnancy until a colleague reminded me of the fail-safe pregnancy test methods way back in the day. Is ALL trying to bring back the “rabbit test”, I wondered? In the earlier part of the 20th century, it was discovered that injecting a rabbit (or other small rodents) with the urine of a pregnant woman would prove fatal for the animal. It was ultimately discovered that it was not, in fact, an effective (or, of course, humane) method of pregnancy testing. Still, I’m thinking ALL may have an alterior motive here.

The video is being called “Bunnies in a blender” – enough said. Keep in mind that a) this is what ALL is comparing safe, legal abortion to – blending up bunnies – and b) this is in response to completely eliminating Title X, a safety net program which has absolutely nothing to do with abortion (other than that it helps prevent them, of course). 

Title X, our 40 year old family planning funding program, was created by Republicans to ensure that all women, regardless of ability to pay, had access to family planning includling preventative care to stay healthy.

It’s been unwaveringly successful as a program that does not only fund Planned Parenthood but public health centers around the nation. … See the video and read more

What Happens to Washington State Women if Title X Falls?

8:51 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amie Newman for – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

“It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition. I believe, therefore that we should establish as a national goal the provision of adequate family planning services within the next five years to all those who want them but cannot afford them. This we have the capacity to do.”

– President Richard Nixon, 1970

We need to make population and family planning household words. We need to take sensationalism out of this topic so that it can no longer be used by militants who have no real knowledge of the voluntary nature of the program but, rather are using it as a political steppingstone. If family planning is anything, it is a public health matter.”

– Congressman George H.W. Bush, 1969


“What is more fiscally responsible than denying any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America?” demanded Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the chief sponsor of a bill to bar the government from directing any money to any organization that provides abortion services.

You’d think Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) bill to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization which provides preventive health care to millions of Americans around the country, would be enough of a blow. They are going for the deep, painful cuts leaving many millions of Americans who are already at their most vulnerable even more exposed with a House leadership budget proposal to completely eliminate Title X, one of the most successful federal safety net programs this country has ever seen. It’s not a political game, as much as Live Action hoax video-makers Lila Rose and James O’Keefe seem to think it is. As states grapple with similar budget cutting, our friends, family and community members will find themselves without basic healthcare and as tax-payers we’ll literally pay the price of the decimation of a crucial public health safety net. In Washington State, with a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, residents are already bracing for the impact of state cuts to family planning, maternity health services, health insurance for lower-income residents, prescription drug benefits for seniors and more. The elimination of the federal Title X program would be disastrous.

This may feel like a swipe out of nowhere but it’s been a long time in the making for the GOP. Read more

As They Seek to Ban Abortion, GOP Also Moves to Eliminate Title X Family Planning Program

8:53 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Jodi Jacobson for – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

As members of the anti-choice Republican and Tea Party House majority debated allowing women to die to salve the “consciences” of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and using the tax code to virtually eliminate insurance coverage for abortion in the United States, the GOP/Tea Party majority took another brazen step.

It moved to dismantle Title X, the nation’s family planning program.

The House Appropriations Committee announced in a press release today a $327 million cut to family planning.  For FY 2010, $317 million was appropriated for the Title X program, but the President’s FY11 budget request was for $327 million.

“Today, the House Leadership launched its latest outrageous attack on women’s health,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The House Leadership’s FY 2011 Continuing Resolution proposes to completely eliminate the Title X family planning program, which has connected millions of  American women with health care since Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1970.”

Put another way, the House Appropriations Committee wants to ensure that more low-income women experience unintended and untenable pregnancies, and that they are then forced to bring those to term.  And along the way, by cutting Title X, Congress will also ensure that more women die of breast and cervical cancer and more people suffer from sexually transmitted infections.  This is dictatorship over women’s lives. Read more

The President’s Budget: A Mixed Bag for Women’s Health

7:14 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Susan Cohen for – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

On February 1, President Obama sent his proposed budget for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2010 to Congress. On the domestic front, the administration’s top priority for reproductive health and rights is teen pregnancy prevention, for which the administration is recommending a significant boost in funding. With the abstinence-only-until-marriage approach of the bygone era defeated, the new initiative will emphasize an evidence-based approach to reducing teenage pregnancy and the underlying factors that put teens at risk.

On the international front, the administration has unveiled the outlines of the Global Health Initiative that the president first announced last year. Family planning and reproductive health programs and maternal and child health programs figure prominently, and the administration is recommending significant increases in both areas.

On abortion rights, however, the president is taking a pass. There can be little doubt that the fact that health care reform legislation remains in limbo has something to do with that—with the options on an ultimate compromise on abortion coverage ranging from terrible to horrible.

Also tied up in health care reform is the fate of two other key provisions: one to make it easier for states to expand eligibility for family planning under Medicaid and a second to establish new funding for home visiting programs for low-income first-time mothers.

Domestic Family Planning: Modest Improvement

A year into the Obama administration, its much-hyped initiative to reduce unintended pregnancy and thereby reduce the need for abortion has yet to emerge. In the meantime, funding for domestic family planning is nearly stagnant. As it did last year, the Title X family planning program would receive a 3 percent, or $10 million, increase, which would bring funding to $327.4 million. Many publicly funded family planning providers are struggling to meet a growing need for subsidized contraceptive care, which is driven by more women wanting to postpone childbearing during tough economic times.

Sex Education: Where the Action Will Be

Teen pregnancy prevention is likely to emerge as a key component of the president’s “common ground” strategy around reducing the need for abortion. The issue may be especially urgent after a recent Guttmacher study found that, for the first time in over a decade, teen pregnancy rates rose in 2006. The administration’s budget proposes to increase the teen pregnancy prevention program created last year by $19 million, bringing the total to $133.7 million. This new initiative is designed to fund proven, as well as promising, programs. It will be housed within the newly created Office of Adolescent Health, which will support and expand teen pregnancy prevention efforts while also addressing a broader range of adolescent health issues, such as those related to mental health, violence, substance use, nutrition and physical activity, and tobacco use. In addition, the administration is recommending that Congress create another program of grants to the states, funded at $50 million per year, to reduce teen pregnancy.

Fatherhood, Marriage and Families: A New Take on Old Themes

The budget proposes to redirect and expand existing funding to a new Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund. The proposed $500 million would support evaluation of comprehensive responsible fatherhood programs and efforts geared toward improving child outcomes by helping custodial parents with serious barriers to self-sufficiency. Funded activities would focus on barriers to employment and could include interventions like home visits, subsidized employment, transitional jobs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Access to Abortion for Low-income Women: Not This Year

As last year, the administration has refrained from even asking Congress to consider repealing the Hyde Amendment banning federal abortion funding under Medicaid. Abortion funding restrictions riddle the federal budget and, technically speaking, come up for review annually on the various appropriations bills. Beyond Medicaid, these funding restrictions ban abortion coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, for Native American women seeking care at Indian Health Service facilities, for Peace Corps volunteers and for women in federal prison. Last year, the president did at least ask Congress to repeal the ban on Washington, D.C.’s ability to pay for abortions with its own funds for its residents on Medicaid, the way states have the option to do. Congress agreed, so that new policy would go forward into FY 2011 under the president’s budget.

International Family Planning and Reproductive Health: Steady Progress

Preventing unintended pregnancy is a core goal of the administration’s Global Health Initiative. According to the president’s budget proposal, support for international family planning and reproductive health programs would increase by about 8% to approximately $700 million, $50 million of which would go to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The increase is in keeping with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s January speech, in which she declared the U.S. government’s renewed support for and dedication to international family planning and reproductive health programs.

Maternal and Child Health Globally: A Big Leap Forward

Efforts to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal health would gain significantly under the president’s proposal, with its new focus on maternal and newborn health. By recommending a 28 percent increase in funding, administration officials say they want to make up for lost time in this neglected area, especially in light of the looming deadlines to meet Millennium Development Goal 5, which calls for measurable improvements in maternal health by 2015. The budget proposal notes that the maternal and child health program “will also actively invest in integrating across all health programs, particularly family planning, nutrition and infectious diseases.” A 2009 study by Guttmacher and UNFPA found that maternal deaths in developing countries could be slashed by 70 percent and newborn deaths cut nearly in half if the world doubled investment in family planning and pregnancy-related care.

Global Health Initiative: Up and Running

Along with the budget, the administration published an initial paper providing an overview of the Global Health Initiative. A stated goal of the initiative is to invest a total of $63 billion between FY 2009 and FY 2014 on key global health programs. However, for FY 2011 the administration is recommending $8.5 billion, raising doubts about the trajectory for achieving that funding goal. Among its targets, the initiative calls for preventing 54 million unintended pregnancies by increasing contraceptive prevalence to 35 percent across assisted countries, as well as decreasing maternal mortality by 30 percent by preventing 360,000 deaths across assisted countries.

A main focus of the initiative is to have the various global health programs (including those on HIV, family planning, pregnancy care and nutrition) work better together toward saving lives and improving health in developing countries. In addition, the Global Health Initiative seeks to increase the focus on information and services for adolescent girls, including providing support for “adolescent-friendly health services; behavior change messages promoting healthy reproductive behavior and delaying age of marriage; prevention of HIV and unintended pregnancy; and prevention and treatment of neglected tropical diseases.” The details are still evolving.

Americans Embrace Pro-Education, Pro-Prevention, Pro-Choice Values in Historic Election

10:01 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Americans ultimately vote their values.

In an election that started out as a debate about war, and ended up being about the economy, voters were also treated to a very clear discussion about the social values of both major parties, the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and very clear ballot initiatives. Social issues may not have been front burner in every race or region, but they were made clear from start to stop.

President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden articulated a platform of pro-education, pro-prevention and pro-choice values that was championed by both pro-life and pro-choice Democrats. They clearly spoke out for equal rights for all citizens and against government intrusion into the most intimate personal decisions individuals and families make. American voters have overwhelmingly embraced them and by extension their values; a very clear majority choosing to respect individual rights and promote individual responsibility — while appreciating that people have differing values within our diverse nation.

Throughout his two year campaign, President-elect Obama clearly called on Americans to respect our differences on controversial issues like abortion and gay rights, but to also work together on common sense policies. Obama envisions a society that allows Americans to move past the division that Read the rest of this entry →