Manhattan Young Democrats Engendering Progress

The US Senate has rejected the spending bill (and the Pence Amendment) that would de-fund Planned Parenthood and other clinics funded by Title X. The bill had frightened advocates for women’s health when it passed the House earlier this year. Now the bill goes back to the House of Representatives for negotiations. This means it’s not over yet. Young women and the uninsured could still lose funding for birth control and vital health services.

Advocacy groups, such as the Manhattan Young Democrats, are incorporating the push to save Title X into their annual Engendering Progress gala, an event to honor female thought-leaders and activists. NARAL Pro-choice NYC will bring a petition addressed to our representatives in Washington asking them not cut Title X funding.

According to Sabrina Schulman, Political Director of NARAL Pro-Choice New York:

“Recent attacks on women’s access to abortion care and family planning services defy common sense, both morally and economically. Placing burdensome barriers to abortion care and limiting access to family planning will not stop women from needing these services; it will only force women to take drastic measures to get the care they need. The pro-choice majority in this country must stand up and make our voices heard.”

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Friday News Roundup.

The GOP Unleashes a Horrifying Attack on Women. Alternet.

Nick Kristof: Tussling Over Jesus. New York Times.

Reactions of Nick Kristof’s Abortion Editorial. New York Times.

The GOP Hostage: End Family Planning or Shut Down the Government. RH Reality Check.

Pro-choice activist adds lobbying to activist tool-kit.

I had the great opportunity to represent Planned Parenthood New York City at the Women’s Health Matters Day of Action in Albany on Monday. The day of action was sponsored by Family Planning Advocates of New York and took place on the first day of session.

One of the highlights of my day was getting to see Governor Paterson address the group of pro-choice activists. Having myself come from an area with a conservative political climate, it was affirming and gratifying to hear a public servant so unabashedly proclaim his pro-choice convictions. One thing I am certain of as New York approaches elections is that Gov. Paterson is a true friend to this movement.

My favorite thing that the Governor said was that in his marriage, his wife Michelle and him have always made family planning decisions together. Therefore, he said, he sees reproductive rights as a men’s and women’s rights issue. What a brave leader. [Read more...]

Family Planning: A Great Return on the Investment

A new report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that development assistance for family planning services in developing nations is a pretty remarkable investment. According to the study, donor nations can see a 4-fold return on their investment if they support family planning services.

  • For 2007, donor countries should have contributed $3 billion of the $17.1 billion total estimated cost for contraceptive services. Yet the actual support provided by donors was only about $500 million – leaving a shortfall of $2.5 billion.
  • In a time of global financial difficulties, donor countries may want to avoid fulfilling such financial commitments. This would be a mistake. The cost of meeting the need for contraception is relatively modest, and an investment now will result in large future savings: Studies show that each dollar invested in contraceptive services will avoid between $1.70 and $4.00 in expenditures . . . but can total as much as $31.00 for each dollar spent on family planning.

Part of the problem is that the United States spent the last eight years neglecting to fund family planning services because of the Global Gag Order (aka “Mexico City Policy”), which prohibited US funds from being distributed to organizations that performed abortions, whether or not US funds were being used to perform them. This means that agencies which provided contraception options for women were woefully underfunded as a result. Thankfully the Obama administration has lifted this ban. But there is still a large financial shortfall that needs to be addressed. [Read more...]