Thursday, March 16, 2006


No Abortion, No Birth Control.

In another life, I used to live outside a small town in southern Oregon. The town was small enough that I had friends of all kinds: some crazy, some conservative, some conventional, some fundamentalist.

One of my friends belonged to a church that was very youth oriented, a sort of total-service church: child-care, sobriety groups, kids activities, outings—quite a nice place , actuallly. I knew the pastor and his family. My friend, "Tom," was very enthusiastic about the church and various church-ish things. One of the things he was enthusiastic about was prohibiting abortion, of course. I remember one day he told me about some "Outreach tapes" he'd been listening to that not only talked about the emotional problems of people who'd had abortions, but how even birth control was very detrimental to society. Couples were supposed to have children; if they didn't, or they set an arbitrary limit on the number of children they had, why those marriages almost always broke up. Therefore, birth control was a bad idea for married people; of course it was totally sinful for unmarried people... Because the availability of it could cause unmarried people to commit sin.

You know the argument.

I found this, today, about the refusal of a state—MO—to pay for any contraception. It made me remember what my friend had told me...It isn't just abortion the right-to-lifers want to stop, ultimately it's all birth control.

Posted on Wed, Mar. 15, 2006

House rejects spending for birth control
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - An attempt to resume state spending on birth control got shot down Wednesday by House members who argued it would have amounted to an endorsement of promiscuous lifestyles.

Missouri stopped providing money for family planning and certain women's health services when Republicans gained control of both chambers of the Legislature in 2003.

But a Democratic lawmaker, in a little-noticed committee amendment, had successfully inserted language into the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 that would have allowed part of the $9.2 million intended for "core public health functions" to go to contraception provided through public health clinics.

The House voted 96-59 to delete the funding for contraception and infertility treatments after Rep. Susan Phillips told lawmakers that anti-abortion groups such as Missouri Right to Life were opposed to the spending.

"If you hand out contraception to single women, we're saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that," Phillips, R-Kansas City, said in an interview.

Others, including some lawmakers who described themselves as "pro-life," said it was illogical for anti-abortion lawmakers to deny money for contraception to low-income people who use public health clinics.

"It's going to have the opposite effect of what the intention is, which will be more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions," said Rep. Kate Meiners, D-Kansas City.

The other alternative is for low-income women to give birth to more children, which is only likely to drive up the state's costs to provide services to them, said Democratic Rep. Melba Curls, also of Kansas City.

The family planning program that was canceled in 2003 had provided state grants for women's health care services. Anti-abortion lawmakers had battled in court for years to try to prevent that money from going to Planned Parenthood, which also provides abortions.

This year's provision, inserted by Rep. Margaret Donnelly, D-St. Louis, would have avoided the Planned Parenthood controversy by only providing contraception through public health clinics. It primarily would have affected women who lack private insurance but who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, which provides contraception under federal rules.

Donnelly said it was a first step to restoring the services of the deleted program.

"The average Missourian believes that as part of women's health, they should be offered in a medical clinic a voluntary choice of contraception," Donnelly said.

While deleting the contraception language, lawmakers left in tact most of the rest of Donnelly's language also directing money to such things as screenings for breast and cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. But they approved Phillips' additional language specifically preventing the money from going toward family planning services or abortion referrals.

Missouri Right to Life said it was concerned with the contraception language because it was loosely written and could have included emergency contraception - often referred to as the morning-after pill.

The Missouri Catholic Conference also opposed the birth control funding.

"State taxpayers should not be required to subsidize activities they believe are immoral or unethical, relating to contraceptives or abortions," said Larry Weber, executive director of the state Catholic Conference.

© 2006 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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