For over 40 years, the government’s Title X initiative has supported family planning programs that provide contraceptive, health, and family services to over 5 million low-income women and men each year. Title X “makes no funds available for abortion” but provides grants to a network of organizations that play “a critical role in ensuring access to confidential, voluntary family planning services and information to all who want and need them.” Of the millions of women served by these clinics, 28 percent receive care at Planned Parenthood.
Recognizing the “important work” such clinics like Planned Parenthood perform “in our inner cities,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) pushed back against criticism of the House GOP’s plan to gut the program in a recent radio interview, saying he himself has “never advocated reducing funding for Title X”:
“I’ve never advocated reducing funding for Title X,” Pence said during a recent radio interview with the chairman of a county Right to Life organization in his home state.
“Title X clinics do important work in our inner cities,” Pence said. “They provide health services for women and children that might not otherwise have access to them.”
As a prominent and influential House Republican, Pence and his defense of Title X may be able to win over the program’s most voracious opponent: Mike Pence. Not only did he vote to “eliminate the entire Title X program” in February, he is the chief sponsor of the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act — a bill that would ban those clinics that “do important work” from receiving any federal funds because they may provide abortions.
Readily admitting that the law prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions, Pence insists that “common sense says there’s no question that taxpayer dollars received by Planned Parenthood are used to cover allowed expenses like overhead operational costs, thus freeing up other money for clinics that do provide abortion.” His bill, he says, would “close the loophole that’s forced millions of pro-life Americans to subsidize the nations leading abortion provider, sustaining and underwriting this nefarious trade.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan told ThinkProgress there’s only one way to view Pence’s open hypocrisy: “Clearly, Pence is feeling the political heat for being the head cheerleader for an over-reaching agenda that would take away millions of Americans’ access to contraception, cancer screenings, and health-care services.” But whatever he may say, his actions speak louder than words. (HT: Raw Story)
Today, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in opposing the House GOP plan to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood: “I support family planning and health services for women,” he said. “Given our severe budget problems, I don’t believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far. As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise that is reasonable and appropriate.”