Amid Zika Crisis, House GOP Proposes Eliminating Birth Control Program

Jul 12, 2016

By Laura Bassett

As the Zika epidemic threatens pregnant women throughout the Americas, House Republicans released a funding proposal on Wednesday that would eliminate a federal grant that helps low-income women and men pay for birth control and other family planning services.

Established over 45 years ago, the Title X Family Planning program provides low-cost sexual health services to about 4.1 million patients and prevents about 1 million unplanned pregnancies each year.

The House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting the program in its draft Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill for fiscal year 2017. This is the fifth time Republicans have attempted to scrap Title X.

The GOP proposal would also cut $108 million in teen pregnancy prevention grants.


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34 comments on “Amid Zika Crisis, House GOP Proposes Eliminating Birth Control Program

  • When I hear about Republicans cutting social programs I usually chalk it up to their “pull yourself up by your boot straps” mentality. Libertarianism and all that self made man bull crap. But there’s more to this than just not wanting to pay for someone else’s medical supplies. If it was all about the money then even a math challenged person such as myself can easily see that it would be cheaper to send birth control supplies raining down on all three hundred million Americans for a decade than to pay for a decade of support for poverty stricken families who produce unwanted, unplanned children year after year. That’s no-brainer math.

    So there’s something else going on here and given that the Republican party is snuggled deeply in bed with the Evangelical Christian Right then I’ll have to guess that the Christian way of doing things regarding sexual behavior is to make sure that any sex that happens outside of their very narrow understanding of things is dirty, sinful, and deserves the harshest punishment that can be provided within the law of the land.

    Since they can no longer put women in stocks on the town common and they probably can’t get away with murder these days then at least they can try to take away birth control and abortion so that after a night of passionate fun, at least that female will now have no choice but to raise an unplanned child and many more after that, pretty much solidifying her position deep in a state of poverty for the rest of her life.

    Here’s where you see that sanctimoneus smug smile spread across their faces.

    Remember how they called AIDS the “gay plague”? God’s revenge on homosexuals, right? Maybe now they’re calling zika God’s revenge on sluts. What do you bet?



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  • Laurie,

    I cannot but conclude, at this point, that the conservative movement in America, is, finally, a racist, sexist, patriarchal, authoritarian, nationalistic, fascist movement. Left to their own devices, they would abolish democracy and replace it with an oligarchy and martial law. And many people would support that – especially the one percent. They want one vast gated community for themselves, and law and order. The rest, the ass-wipes (and victims) who vote republican, want to go back to their childhood, when mom and dad said “do this, do that, good, bad, etc.”

    Trump is considering a military guy as VP. (So is Hillary; that’s not bad in itself.) He says he’ll be the “law and order” president.

    As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, which will happen under Trump, riots are sure to follow. Then military law, and then the iron heel. Well, I don’t need to repeat myself, but that is the process. It’s dialectical. (Just look at the horrible shooting in Dallas: many people are blaming the protesters!)

    All this talk about law and order is the absolute mark of incipient fascism. And let’s not kid ourselves that it isn’t.

    With all her faults, Hillary has to win. I’m scared. (I am an hysteric, but that doesn’t mean I am always or entirely wrong.)

    Btw, Obama delivered a marvelous speech at the Dallas service today. It gave me hope.



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  • Dan

    I’ll definitely watch the speech.

    I’ve heard plenty of comments from people that blame the protesters. One woman said to me that they have the right to protest but they can’t be violent. They have to be respectful. This really pissed me off coming from a white middle aged wealthy spoiled brat. I told her that this problem should have been solved decades ago but nobody did a single thing to protect those people. Now they’re not going to take it anymore and I don’t blame them. F-ing cops. They aren’t even cops anymore, they’re community military forces. Years ago my car broke down on the highway and the cop on duty came over and punched me in the head for inconveniencing him. Me! A nice polite white girl from a snooty town! My dead car was blocking his lane. After that I started noticing what really worse treatment the minorities get from them.



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  • When the UN, the WHO, the World Bank, and every other supra-governmental organization on the planet are calling for reduced human populations, and the GOP is slashing funding of family planning and birth control, you have to wonder is it because the left hand doesn’t know there is a right hand, or that maybe it is just more profitable and politically savvy to solve population excesses via war and domestic violence. It is like our medical system that focuses only on symptoms and not cures. Let the populations explode and then implode with chaos and war as the profitable solution. Bill Gates is personally calling for reducing human populations all the while spending billions on vaccines. What??? If you rid the third world of all disease their populations will explode. Then they can all starve to death. Beam me up………



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  • All of this revolves around ignorance. Many US citizens believe that faith trumps scientific evidence. Faith is thinking something is absolutely correct, and any scientific evidence to the contrary is at all significant, so ignore it. The upcoming election will be the ignorant and uneducated VS the intelligent and the well educated.

    If Trump wins this election, people of the US will deserve the tragedy that will follow while they pray to a dtluionary god. The necessity of the use of contraceptives is obvious with regard not only to the Zika virus problem but also because of overpopulation causing all kinds of disasters such as pollution, global warming, and dwindling resources. These irrational objections to contraceptives is due to the all consuming vilification of sexual pleasure. That condemnation of sex is a mental disorder, a starting by a bearded charismatic sociopath called Agustine of Hippo about 400AD. Augustine was sainted by the Roman Catholic Church!



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  • Craig Domin

    If you rid the third world of all disease their populations will explode.

    I hope you’re not suggesting that we let people of the third world suffer in pain and agony and die when there are medications and vaccines that can eliminate this. When medicine, food aid, pumps and all other improvements are offered to third world people as they should be, a strong program of contraception must be offered along with it. This is common knowledge in this line of work. When women in traditional cultures are offered contraception they are happy to have it. The only thing that blocks this is when the religious nuts stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong and try to control women as they go about their own perfectly good family planning.

    To deny third worlders the benefits that we enjoy just because they will have too many children as a result of that is cruel and unethical.



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  • While I may be distressed to see the GOP’s obstruction of medical services, (and as a Canadian I do not have a dog in that hunt anyway), and while I can agree with most of the criticism tabled so far, I do not understand how this particular item is relevant to RDF, as it relates to politics and ideologies, independent of “Reason & Science”. It MAY relate to god and religion if one assumes that it is the Religious Right driving the politics, but that is totally unclear in the article.

    I raise this more for the general point than for this particular instance. Last year some time the question went out as to whether RDF should get engaged in social issues that lay outside its mandate (as I understand it). My answer at that time was a clear “NO”. To be anti-religion and committed to reason and science does not automatically guarantee that as a group with a mission in that arena, there will be easy consensus on issues of e.g. politics, ethics, culture, emotion, intuition, etc., at least where, as in this case, religion and superstition are not necessarily the prime progenitors.

    I just went back and re-read the “about us” page, and the first paragraph confirms my concern that this article blurs the lines to the detriment of that mission.



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  • You can’t see what understanding birth control, population dynamics, religious interference, governance and human well being have to do with reason and science? What do you think they are for?



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  • Ken #11
    Jul 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    while I can agree with most of the criticism tabled so far, I do not understand how this particular item is relevant to RDF, as it relates to politics and ideologies, independent of “Reason & Science”.

    The science of applied and preventative medicine is not independent of reason and science.
    The global problem of a human population explosion, is not independent of reason and science, and the irrationality of opposing simple steps to avoid inflicting disease and deformities on babies, is very much to do with recognising the reason to support preventative measures, and the irrationality of opposing viewpoints!

    By their very nature, reason and science often come into conflict with irrational politics and ideologies which fly in the face of the evidence.

    I just went back and re-read the “about us” page, and the first paragraph confirms my concern that this article blurs the lines to the detriment of that mission.

    If you read further down the page it is quite clear that promoting human safety, security and health, is included in the objectives, and that these are clearly issues in this article.

    @ “about us” page – will advance human safety, security, health, achievement, prosperity and most of all, science.

    I can’t really see why you find this difficult to grasp, or why you should think these objectives are “outside the RDFS mission’s terms.



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  • Hi, CBrown

    If Trump wins this election, people of the US will deserve the tragedy that will follow while they pray to a dtluionary [illusory?] god.

    That’s a bit harsh. I agree with you to some extent. Some of the people who vote for him will get what they deserve and I won’t miss a night’s sleep over it. I am referring to the reactionaries, the bigots, the greedy. Others are voting because they are disenfranchised and uneducated. They deserve a wake-up call; a little pain and misery might be just what the doctor ordered. They might at long last start to think and question a little next time (assuming we make it through a Trump presidency).

    But the people who don’t vote for him certainly don’t deserve to suffer.

    (Does anyone really “deserve” to suffer? I think so. But if suffering is not curative it has no value.)

    The world will suffer if trump makes it. You yourself (and those you know) will suffer – if there’s a nuclear war or continued aggravation of the climate crisis, etc. Do you deserve that?



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  • 16
    fadeordraw says:

    So 1stly, DR enthusiasts, these two things have nothing to do with one another; re: the Zika virus (Brazil/Olympics) and cutting federal funding for family planning services. With that lead in, I didn’t read the source article, which I weekly enjoy doing. However, I am interested in, viewing through a soc-cul-eco-development lens, Brazil, the 2016 summer Olympics and the virus with which, thanks to Stephanie Nolans, the South American Globe and Mail reporter, we readers are familiar. There are lots of health problems in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro; not sure if I’d do the ocean swimming there. A particular sociological problem for me is that top ranked golfers have opted out of the 1st time that golf is included as an Olympian sport since the 1920s with the excuse of fear of contracting the Zika virus. (Note: apparently the similar ranked women’s golfer have not done the same). I think that for the science of the matter, as an Ottawa golfer, I’m sure I can spray myself to ensure not one bite; let alone $ multi-million folk with wherewithal to ensure not one bite. They don’t believe that the best science their money can buy can’t buy them security from a mosquito? Surely that’s ridiculous. I s something else is going on?

    Just to note, I don’t think, from a world cultural development perspective, that sports such as golf, tennis, soccer, basketball, baseball, and hockey (though Olympic hockey is the best), with their annual majors and bi-annual tourneys, should be included as four year Olympics sports.

    BTW: What are the evaluated results re: whether or not federal cuts to family planning make sense.



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  • Were the temperatures in Washington’s environs high enough for the Zika virus to thrive there, I dare say this decision would not have been made.

    But of course the same people who proposed this measure are opposing measures to control or limit the current period of global warming.

    This will of course all go on the record, and could in time cause the sky to grow dark with political chickens coming home to roost.

    But unfortunately, by then the damage will have been done.

    Where do they find them?



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  • DanDare #12
    Jul 13, 2016 at 5:43 pm
    ” You can’t see what understanding birth control, population dynamics, religious interference,
    governance and human well being have to do with reason and science? What do you think they are for?”

    Of course I see how science relates to issues such as those; with respect to the funding obstruction, my point was simply that in this case it is not clear what the motivation was: denial of science? religious beliefs? Either one of those would be legitimate for this forum. But if it is just a case of mean-spirited, partisan politicians being heartless, irrespective of reason, then what can science say about that?

    What is science “for” ? I would argue that it is not “for” anything. It is the search for truth in and of the physical universe. It is used “for” whatever. The atomic bomb was developed by science. How was science used “for” the decision to use it to incinerate thousands of people? Did all scientists, and all rational people, agree on that decision?
    I see science as neutral, for better or worse.

    To expand the examples, what does science, and this forum, say about euthanasia, abortion, gun control, health-care funding, same-sex marriage, legal marijuana, etc. Would RDF participants easily come to a consensus on the various arguments that stem from those issues?
    I would think not. I believe that any collection of stark raving atheists with total commitment to rationale would not and could not agree on all facets of those issues.
    But maybe I am wrong.



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  • Ken

    I appreciate discussions on this website concerning the issues you mention above because I’m reasonably sure that there exists amongst us the competence to present relevant statistics on the issues and to discuss the meaning of the numbers. After that, I feel confident that a discussion of the ethics involved in all of the topics will proceed and offer much in our understanding of things.

    When we talk about stats and ethics it’s pretty much cut and dry. But aside from that I’ve seen various commenters express opinions that are feelings. There’s nothing wrong with that and I think we manage to keep these all into separate categories.

    Using abortion as an example, there are relevant statistics that we need to present about safety of the procedure, who is having the procedure, why they are having the procedure, and there are ethical concerns like the ability of the embryo/fetus to feel pain, the right of the adult female to control her own reproductive system, etc.

    After that, commenters have definitely expressed their feelings about the matter and we have had some comments that express a repugnance with the abortion procedure. What I have learned from discussions of these topics here is that there is always a starting agreement in these discussions that can be found and we can usually build on that. Not saying we’ll reach full agreement and I don’t expect that to happen all the time but I have seen people change their minds based on thoughtful presentation of stats and a good analysis of the ethical concerns for any given topic.

    I’m not sure if we’re a bunch of “stark raving atheists” or not (I’m definitely one of them) but even religious people benefit from a discussion of any issue presented in a logical, rational, science, math and ethics based perspective. I do this with people of faith and no faith every day!



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  • Ken #18
    Jul 14, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    To expand the examples, what does science, and this forum, say about euthanasia, abortion, gun control, health-care funding, same-sex marriage, legal marijuana, etc.
    Would RDF participants easily come to a consensus on the various arguments that stem from those issues?
    I would think not. I believe that any collection of stark raving atheists with total commitment to rationale would not and could not agree on all facets of those issues.

    I think the “about us page”, as quoted @#14 spelled out the criteria!

    @#14 – @ “about us” page – will advance human safety, security, health, achievement, prosperity and most of all, science.

    But maybe I am wrong.



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  • To LaurieB #10:

    When medicine, food aid, pumps and all other improvements are offered
    to third world people as they should be, a strong program of
    contraception must be offered along with it.

    Without a strong program of contraception and education, it will be like pouring water uphill. It will not mean a damn thing just to feel sorry for the sick and starving, or to feel good by saving lives. Everyone on this planet MUST keep family size low (below 3 children), otherwise all attempts to save lives will be for naught. Just try and convince the Roman Catholic Church and other religious leaders of this reality.



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  • To Dan #15:

    That’s a bit harsh.

    If you truly think that, just consider what will happen if Trump nominates three devout Roman Catholics to the Supreme Court, that will be there for the next 50 years. (or if he nominates three evangelicals)….same result.



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  • cbrown

    Just try and convince the Roman Catholic Church and other religious leaders of this reality.

    I wouldn’t waste my breath trying to do that. Better to use one’s energy to subvert them and go straight to women with a grassroots program. Convince the matriarchs and it’s a done deal!



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  • CBrown #22, #9

    That’s a bit harsh.

    No, you misunderstood me or didn’t read what I wrote (#15) very carefully; a Trump presidency will be ruinous and disastrous and tragic – just like you said.

    When I said “harsh” I was referring to your assertion that all Americans deserve what we get (although you may not have meant that literally).

    Btw, Trump just picked Gov. Pence, a religious freedom guy, an evangelical, as his running mate.



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  • P.S.

    If Trump wins this election, people of the US will deserve the tragedy that will follow while they pray to […] god.

    I misunderstood you too. You were referring to the religious conservatives, not to all Americans, right? I’d like to see some of these evangelicals and religious, right-wing morons learn a hard lesson too, as I said.

    (But not all of his stupid supporters are voting for religious reasons, as I am sure you are aware; and many religious people will not be voting for him.)



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  • To Dan #25:

    You have that right. It would be a real tragedy for those who voted against Trump just as that expensive and unneeded war in Iraq, as George W. was selected by a Supreme Court (dominated by Roman Catholics) that had on all of us in the US.



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  • Just remember that all sexual pleasure is truly sinful (according to the Roman Catholic hierarchy). So….outlaw contraceptives as women must be baby machines. (??!) Just ask your local bishop. After all, the RCC made Augustine of Hippo a saint!



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  • As soon as they get rid of birth control and abortion they’ll make anesthesia illegal for women in labor and delivery. It’s our duty to suffer pain in childbirth, remember? It’s all because of that crazy bitch Eve who was a slutty bad influence on the poor innocent perfect guy Adam. Therefore, the pain in childbirth thing. Payback’s a bitch.

    Pain and death in childbirth for H. sapiens females; payback for grotesque sinning or just pelvic outlets too tight for those big brained big headed sapiens babies….Hmmm…that’s a tough one…duh.



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  • Laurie,

    Read Paradise Lost. (Maybe with your reading group.)

    Milton’s Adam is a good guy. And his Satan’s not such a bed fellow either. Adam was very inquisitive. He asked an angel (in Paradise Lost) why God created all those superfluous things like stars, etc. The angel basically said: don’t go there. (Typical angel!)

    He was, at least in Paradise Lost, the first person to question the so-called perfection of God. He makes him the first skeptic.

    I have never understood this: if Eve hadn’t eaten the apple (and Adam ate it too), there would be no sexual desire. So how would Adam and Eve have been able to have kids? It’s all insane, basically. But Paradise Lost is a fascinating literary work.



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  • Laurie:

    As soon as they get rid of birth control and abortion they’ll make anesthesia illegal for women in labor and delivery.

    What is so ironic and hypocritical is that if this happens and the religious right were to continue to get what they want (which could happen) we will be not much better than the Taliban. The conservatives call it the land of liberty and boast about our “exceptionalism”, condemn theocracy and the absence of human liberty in others; yet they themselves will (could) become The Other. (The message of Animal Farm, if I remember correctly.)

    (We are seeing that with Israel. They treat the Palestinians as if the Palestinians were ghetto Jews. Irony of ironies.)



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  • Stafford Gordon #17
    Jul 14, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Were the temperatures in Washington’s environs high enough for the Zika virus to thrive there, I dare say this decision would not have been made.

    Maybe this news will help to focus some minds!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36926425
    Four people suffering from the Zika virus in Florida are probably the first cases contracted within the US, health officials say.

    So far, cases outside of Latin America and the Caribbean, where the virus is prevalent, have been spread by travel to that region or sexual transmission.

    The four Florida cases mean US mosquitoes may be carrying the virus.

    The Florida department of health said “a high likelihood exists that four cases are the result of local transmission”, centred on one small area just north of downtown Miami.

    More than 1,650 cases of Zika have so far been detected in the United States, but the Florida cases would be the first in the US not involving sexual contact or foreign travel.

    “This is not just a Florida issue,” Gov Rick Scott said. “It’s a national issue – we just happen to be at the forefront.”

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they anticipated more cases will emerge over the coming weeks



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  • @#33 – Maybe this news will help to focus some minds!

    . . . . and this item add a little more concentration to deliberations!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38138668

    Health officials in the US state of Texas say they have recorded the first case of the Zika virus transmitted by a local mosquito.

    Up until now, all Zika cases in Texas have been contracted while travelling.

    The virus, which started spreading rapidly through the Americas last year, has been linked to microcephaly, a rare birth defect.

    Florida is the only other US state to have reported locally caught cases of Zika.

    The Texas Department of State Health Services said the patient was a woman living in Cameron County, near the Mexican border. She is not pregnant, and has not recently travelled to Mexico or anywhere else with ongoing Zika virus transmission.

    We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” said Dr John Hellerstedt, the heath department commissioner.

    “We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas, but there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”

    The state said it currently has no other suspected cases of local transmission.

    The infection was confirmed by testing the woman’s urine. However, a blood test proved negative, meaning that the virus can no longer be spread from her by another mosquito.

    The Zika virus often causes little or no symptoms, but experts believe it is linked to complications during pregancy, and could cause babies to be born with small heads and other developmental problems.



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