Shock: Contraceptive funding sound economic policy
Many, including "progressive" bloggers, insisted that it was acceptable for Obama to remove contraceptive funding from the stimulus bill, particularly if it could get GOP votes. Besides the fact that such a move rendered zero GOP votes, appeasing the GOP is equivalent to begging to be shot in the head, and the selling out of poor women and girls has misogynistic overtones to it, the removal of this funding also took aim at the economy (Read the whole article).
House Republicans dogmatically refused to vote for any stimulus program that permitted states to fund contraception for Medicaid eligible citizens and those living off incomes just above the poverty level. This policy will lead to more unplanned pregnancies (with the associated abortions) and will block billions of dollars in savings.
To understand how this works, it is helpful to look at California's experience with a state-funded contraception and family planning initiative for women with incomes between 100% and 200% of the poverty level:
Four years after implementing the program, California saved an estimated $500 million in public health care spending, net of what they spent on the program itself. In fact, for every dollar invested in the program, the state of California saved an estimated $5.33, for every dollar spent, over a period of five years. These are conservative estimates that do not include money saved through increased productivity and cost savings from reductions in paid medical leave and sick days that result from unplanned pregnancies. Few other public spending plans can boast such a positive return on investment.
So what's their excuse now? Just as the GOP isn't really concerned about reducing abortions, but instead focused on reducing the basic rights of women and girls, I fear that "progressives" who sell out poor women and girls aren't really doing it for "pragmatic" reasons.
I know Obama might get family planning funds done as early as next week, but on economic grounds alone it was beyond foolish to remove them from the stimulus bill in the first place--even if it was the only thing preventing GOP approval he doesn't even need.
UPDATE: May I also add that when news broke that the CIA offered Afghan warlords Viagra in exchange for so-called intelligence (How's that war working out by the way?), there was hardly the level of dismissive scorn put on such "wasteful" spending by the GOP or the media. Again, we're talking about helping men all but certainly rape women and, particularly, girls. So, funding rapes in a war we're set to lose: eh. Funding contraceptives for poor women and girls: silly shit.