It’s Not Just Abortion: The Far-Reaching Conservative War On Women’s Health


Attempts to restrict women’s access to legal and safe abortion is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the conservative assault on women’s health care. Conservatives, particularly the increasingly right-wing House Republicans who rode into the majority on a Tea Party wave, have also sought to undermine and defund a variety of what ought to be non-divisive women’s health care services. Over the last year or so, conservatives have ramped up the war on women’s health care, including access to contraceptives, preventive services like cancer screenings, and programs that promote maternal and childhood health.

Title X: Birth Control And Cancer Screenings

House GOP Repeatedly Tried To Zero Out Title X Funding

In The 2011 Spending Bill, House Republicans Tried To Completely Eliminate A Program That Provides Family Planning And Cancer Screenings For Low-Income Women. From the National Women’s Law Center: “The bill to fund – and de-fund – the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, H.R. 1, passed the House on February 19, 2011, on a party-line vote (all but three Republicans voting voted for the bill; all Democrats voting voted against it). […] H.R. 1 eliminates funding for the Title X program, which for more than 40 years has provided family planning services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive health care to low-income women in need. Title X-funded health centers serve more than five million low-income women and men each year, and six in 10 women who obtain health care from a family planning center consider it to be their primary source of health care.” [National Women’s Law Center, 2/23/11]

The Eventual Compromise Cut 5.5 Percent From The Title X Budget. From the Huffington Post: “House Republicans already cut funds for Title X by 5.5 percent during budget negotiations earlier this year, and health advocates say that even that small cut was devastating to the increasing number of unemployed and uninsured people who rely on the program for basic health and preventative care. Title X-funded health systems have had to furlough and lay off employees as a result of the cuts, while the recession is driving more and more patients to seek services there.” [Huffington Post, 10/4/11]

The GOP-Proposed 2012 Labor-HHS Budget Again Sought To Eliminate The Entire Title X Program. From the Huffington Post: “Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, proposed a budget bill for fiscal year 2012 last week that ‘eliminates 79 wasteful programs,’ including Title X.” [Huffington Post, 10/4/11]

Title X Saves Taxpayers Money And Helps Prevent Unintended Pregnancies

Every Public Dollar Spent On Family Planning Saves Almost Four Times As Much On Medicaid Expenses For Unintended Pregnancies. From the Guttmacher Institute: “Yet, although the costs of contraception can be daunting for individual women, insurance coverage of contraceptive services and supplies—both public and private—actually saves money. Guttmacher Institute research finds that every public dollar invested in contraception saves $3.74 in short-term Medicaid expenditures for care related to births from unintended pregnancies. In total, services provided at publicly funded family planning centers saved $5.1 billion in 2008. (Significantly, these savings do not account for any of the broader health, social or economic benefits to women and families from contraceptive services and supplies and the ability to time, space and prepare for pregnancies.)” [Guttmacher Institute, Winter 2011]

By Law, Title X Money Cannot Fund Abortions. From the Department of Health and Human Services: “In addition to contraceptive services and related counseling, Title X-supported clinics provide a number of related preventive health services such as: patient education and counseling; breast and pelvic examinations; breast and cervical cancer screening according to nationally recognized standards of care; sexually transmitted disease (STD) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention education, counseling, testing and referral; and pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. By law, Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” [, accessed 2/16/12]

Eliminating Title X Funding Would Result In An Estimated 400,000 More Abortions. From the Guttmacher Institute: “Contraceptive services at Title X–funded clinics in 2008 helped to avert some 973,000 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 433,000 unplanned births and 406,000 abortions.” [Guttmacher Institute, May 2010]

Contraceptive Services From Publicly Funded Clinics On The Whole Helped Avoid 1.5 Million Unintended Pregnancies. From the Guttmacher Institute: “In 2008, an estimated 7.1 million female contraceptive clients were served at publicly funded clinics. … Publicly funded clinics helped to avert some 1.5 million unintended pregnancies. Of these pregnancies, 656,000 would have resulted in an unplanned birth and 616,000 would have resulted in an abortion.” [Guttmacher Institute, May 2010]

The Conservative “Vendetta” Against Planned Parenthood

House Republicans Voted To Deprive Planned Parenthood Of All Federal Money Via An Amendment To Their 2011 Funding Bill. From Politico: “The House just approved Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, checking off a hot-button social issue even as it set up a bigger showdown over defunding the health care law. The vote was 240-185 with 11 Democrats voting for the amendment, and seven Republicans voting against. One member voted present. A group of Republicans on the floor applauded when the vote hit 218.” [Politico, 2/18/11]

Republicans Threatened To Shut Down The Government Over Planned Parenthood Funding. From the Huffington Post: “The United States government is on the verge of shutting down over a dispute about subsidized pap smears, according to sources familiar with the budget negotiations. […] At a late-night White House meeting between the president and key congressional leaders, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made clear that his conference would not approve funding for the government if any money were allowed to flow to Planned Parenthood through legislation known as Title X.” [Huffington Post, 4/7/11]

Rep. Pence Sponsored A Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood By Prohibiting Title X Funds From Going To Organizations That Also Provide Abortions. From the Wall Street Journal: “Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.), has proposed a bill that would prevent abortion providers from receiving Title X money. Mr. Pence has made it clear his legislation is aimed at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which is the nation’s biggest provider of abortion services and also a major recipient of Title X money. ‘The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X,’ Mr. Pence said at a recent ‘March for Life.’ ‘The time has come to deny any and all federal funding to Planned Parenthood of America.’” [Wall Street Journal, 2/9/11]

Rep. Cliff Stearns Launched A “Sweeping Investigation” Into Planned Parenthood’s Use Of Federal Money. From the National Journal: “House Republicans have opened a sweeping investigation into Planned Parenthood, requesting reams of financial information and details on how the women’s health organization keeps federal funds separate from abortion services. House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., sent Planned Parenthood a six-page letter earlier this month detailing the committee’s request. House Republicans have repeatedly tried to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding because it provides abortions, even though federal funds are not used for those services. ‘The Committee has questions about the policies in place and actions undertaken by PPFA and its affiliates relating to its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on the funding of abortion,’ the letter said.” [National Journal, 9/27/11]

  • House Democrats Suggested Investigation Was Part Of “A Republican Vendetta” Against Planned Parenthood, Which Is Regularly Audited. From a letter Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) sent to Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL): “We question the basis for the investigation and whether Planned Parenthood is being singled out as part of a Republican vendetta against an organization that provides family planning and other medical care to low-income women and men. […] We are aware of no predicate that would justify this sweeping and invasive request to Planned Parenthood. The HHS Inspector General and state Medicaid programs regularly audit Planned Parenthood and report publicly on their findings. These audits have not identified any pattern of misuse of federal funds, illegal activity, or other abuse that would justify a broad and invasive congressional investigation.” [, 9/27/11]

Planned Parenthood’s Public Funding Provides Health Care Services For Rural And Underserved Women

The Vast Majority Of Planned Parenthood’s Services Are Contraception, STI Tests And Treatment, And Cancer Screenings – Not Abortion. The following chart, provided by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, breaks down the types of services provided by Planned Parenthood health centers:


[Planned Parenthood, 2012]

An Estimated 90 Percent Of The Women Who Visit Planned Parenthood Do Not Get Abortions. From Ezra Klein’s Washington Post blog: “Tait Sye, spokesman for Planned Parenthood, e-mails: ‘I would say the chart is intended to capture the breadth of care we provide. We are very transparent in what the chart represents, and the number of women who come to PP for care. I don’t know how they get 1 in 3, but if you want to follow their mathematical logic, you would take number of patients and divide by number of abortions. So, about 1 in 10 women who come to PP, come for abortion care (assuming a woman does not come for a 2nd abortion). 3 million women/ 329,000 abortions.’” [Washington Post, 2/3/12]

By Law, The Federal Funding Planned Parenthood Receives Cannot Pay For Abortions. From the New York Times: “With a total budget of some $1.1 billion, more than a third of which comes from the federal, state and local governments, Planned Parenthood offers family planning, H.I.V. counseling, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screening and other services as well as abortions, mainly to low-income women. Congress has long barred the use of federal money for abortion, but it provides more than $75 million a year to Planned Parenthood affiliates to support family planning for low-income women. Millions more in federal dollars are provided for sex education and, indirectly, through Medicaid and other programs.” [New York Times, 2/17/11]

  • The Hyde Amendment Bars Federal Money For Abortions Except In Cases Of Rape, Incest, Or If The Life Of The Mother Is In Danger. From NPR: “’Today’s Hyde language, which has been in every annual Labor-HHS [Health and Human Services] appropriations bill since 1976, specifically prohibits federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions except if the pregnancy was the result of rape, incest or the life of the mother was in danger,’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on the Senate floor. That’s true.” [, 12/14/09]

Planned Parenthood President: Most Clinics Provide Medical Care In Rural Or Underserved Communities. From the Huffington Post: “Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, told HuffPost that the funding cut would be a threat to women’s health. ‘We have three million come to us every year and two million come through some kind of federal program either for an annual pap or for birth control or for a breast exam or even prenatal care,’ she noted, adding that the cuts would disproportionately impact rural areas with relatively few medical options. ‘More than 70 percent of our health centers, more than 800 centers in the country, are located in rural America or communities that are medically underserved communities. That’s what’s getting lost here.’” [Huffington Post, 4/7/11]

Slate: “For Many Women In Rural And Isolated Areas, Planned Parenthood Is The Only Reliable Source Of Contraception.” From Slate: “For many women in rural and isolated areas, Planned Parenthood is the only reliable source of contraception. If the Pence amendment terminates their access, more of these women–many of whom are either uninsured or on Medicaid—will face unintended pregnancies.” [Slate, 3/28/11]

Planned Parenthood Is Able To Provide Reproductive Health Services At A Lower Cost Than Other Providers. From Slate:

The Pence amendment would, rather than cut overall spending, shift patients from Planned Parenthood to other clinics—clinics that typically charge the government more for the same services. … Planned Parenthood cost the government an average of $148 for a patient’s contraceptive care in a year, while other clinics spent $215 a year per patient. Just pushing contraceptive care for these patients from Planned Parenthood to other clinics would thus cost the government an additional $174 million a year.

How can Planned Parenthood offer services so much less expensively than other providers? In part, it’s because there is a federal law that requires drug companies to provide deep discounts to organizations with an overt family planning mission. According to Ehrmann, the organization also saves money by keeping up with the latest standards of care. For instance, Planned Parenthood provides women full pelvic exams once every three years instead of every year, and unlike many providers, it doesn’t require a full exam every time a patient comes in with a specific complaint. Also, like Wal-Mart, Planned Parenthood has an economy of scale advantage—it’s the biggest reproductive health care provider in the country, with more than 800 clinics nationwide. “Because we’re a large organization,” said Planned Parenthood spokesman Tait Sye, “we’re able to do national purchasing for medical supplies and other things at lower costs.” [Slate, 3/28/11]

Planned Parenthood Primarily Serves Low-Income Women. According to Planned Parenthood, 76 percent of the clients who visit their health care centers have incomes “at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.” [, 2012]

Planned Parenthood Estimates Its Services Avert Over Half A Million Unintended Pregnancies Each Year. Planned Parenthood estimates the “number of unintended pregnancies averted by Planned Parenthood contraceptive services each year” to be 584,000. [, 2012]

Planned Parenthood Estimates Its Services Help Avoid Over 275,000 Abortions Each Year. According to Planned Parenthood, the “estimated number of abortions averted by Planned Parenthood contraceptive services each year” totals 277,000. [, 2012]

Conservative Hostility To International And Domestic Family Planning

Rep. Ron Paul Introduced A Bill To Defund All Family Planning Programs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, on March 15, 2011, Rep. Ron Paul introduced the “Taxpayers’ Freedom of Conscience Act of 2011,” whichwould prevent federal expenditures on any form of family planning programs/activities both foreign and domestic.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed 2/21/12]

A GOP-Led House Committee Voted To Prohibit U.S. Aid For International Family Planning Organizations That Also Counsel Women On Abortion. From the Huffington Post: “The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on Thursday to reinstate an extreme version of the Global Gag Rule, which blocks all U.S. monetary assistance — including funding for HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, child survival and education — to international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options. […] The U.S. currently provides $648.5 million in family planning money to developing countries, serving about 215 million women who would otherwise have no access to any kind of contraception. None of that money is spent on abortions, as the Helms Amendment has prevented U.S. tax dollars from funding overseas abortions since 1973. Under the Global Gag Rule, foreign healthcare professionals must make the difficult decision to either deny their patients full and accurate information about safe and legal abortions, or violate U.S. law and risk the loss of funding.” [Huffington Post, 9/21/11]

The GOP-Controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee Passed A Bill To Eliminate U.S. Funding To The U.N. Population Fund. From the Huffington Post: “The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that zeroes out U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund, a women and children’s health program that works to reduce maternal mortality, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide contraception to the world’s most vulnerable populations.” [Huffington Post, 10/5/11]

  • Republicans Claim U.N. Population Fund Supports China’s One Child Policy. From the Huffington Post: “House Republicans say they are pushing the legislation because the fund, known as the UNFPA, is complicit in China’s controversial one-child policy, which enforces abortion and sterilization.” [Huffington Post, 10/5/11]

The U.N. Population Fund Doesn’t Aid China’s One-Child Policy, But It Does Work To Promote Maternal And Child Health

A Bush-Era State Department Investigation Found That The U.N. Population Does Not Support China’s Coercive Family Planning Policies. From the Huffington Post: “But according to the UNFPA, the organization has no involvement with China’s one-child efforts. The UNFPA says it does not support abortion as a method of family planning and does not send any American funds to China. In fact, the U.S. State Department conducted an investigation of the UNFPA in 2002 and found ‘no evidence that UNFPA has knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization’ in China.” [Huffington Post, 10/5/11]

One Of The U.N. Population Fund’s Areas Of Interest Is “Prevention Of Abortion.” From the United Nations Population Fund’s website:

Working with a range of partners, UNFPA assists governments in delivering sexual and reproductive health care throughout the life cycle of women and youths. These areas include:

  • Voluntary family planning
  • Antenatal, safe delivery and post-natal care
  • Prevention of abortion and management of its consequences
  • Treatment of reproductive-tract infections
  • Prevention, care and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
  • Information, education and counselling, as appropriate, on human sexuality and reproductive health
  • Prevention of violence against women, care for survivors of violence and other actions to eliminate traditional harmful practices
  • Appropriate referrals for further diagnosis and management of the above.

[, accessed 2/21/12]

The U.N. Population Fund Works to Reduce Poverty, Fights HIV, And Promotes Maternal And Child Health. From the United Nations Population Fund’s website: “UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. […] The goals of UNFPA – achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health (including family planning), promoting reproductive rights, reducing maternal mortality and accelerating progress on the ICPD agenda and MDG 5 – are inextricably linked. UNFPA also focuses on improving the lives of youths and women by advocating for human rights and gender equality and by promoting the understanding of population dynamics.” [, accessed 2/21/12]

GOP Tried To Reroute Money From The Affordable Care Act And Teen Pregnancy Prevention To Ineffective Abstinence Education

Rep. Hultgren Introduced A Bill To Reallocate Federal Money To Abstinence-Only Educational Programs. On September 8, 2011, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) introduced the “Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2011,” which would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “award grants on a competitive basis to public and private entities to provide qualified sexual risk avoidance education to youth and their parents.” The bill states that grants will go only to education that has “as its sole purpose teaching of the skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth.” [Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2011, 9/8/11]

  • Hultgren’s Bill Funds Abstinence Education By Raiding The Affordable Care Act’s Prevention And Public Health Fund. From the text of H.R. 2874, the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2011: “There is authorized to be appropriated $110,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2016 to carry out this Act. Amounts authorized to be appropriated by the preceding sentence shall be derived exclusively from amounts in the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by section 4002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” [Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2011, 9/8/11]

The GOP-Proposed Draft 2012 Labor-HHS Budget Bill Would Have Decimated New Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative And Funded Abstinence-Only Education. From RH Reality Check:

The proposed bill cuts funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative from $110 million to just $20 million.  The new initiative, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), funds a total of 102 grantees in 36 states and is set to reach over 800,000 young people annually.  It began in FY 2010 and was designed to support ‘medically accurate and age-appropriate programs to reduce teen pregnancy and underlying behavioral risk factors.’  Many saw this as the Obama Administration’s answer to the Bush-era investment in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs which did not work.  Not only would the cuts force the government to drastically reduce the number of grantees receiving money, the proposed bill also removes the important requirement that all programs be evidence-based, which disregards the intent of the initiative and makes room for abstinence-only programs to apply.

But they might not have to because the bill also resurrects the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) grant program.  CBAE was always considered the strictest of the funding streams for abstinence-only programs in part because the money went straight from the Department of Health and Human Services to community-based organizations bypassing the states which were often more relaxed about the definition of what constitutes an abstinence-only program.  Funding for CBAE was finally eliminated in Fiscal Year 2010.  In this proposed bill, it once again would receive $20 million. [RH Reality Check, 10/3/11]

A Later 2012 Labor-HHS Budget Proposal Added $5 Million For Abstinence Education. From The Hill: “House GOP appropriators unveiled late Wednesday an omnibus spending bill that sets aside $69.7 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s $700 million less than what HHS got for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 and $3.4 billion below the president’s budget request. […] The bill also eliminates cuts to Planned Parenthood, while adding $5 million for abstinence education, which wasn’t funded last year or in the president’s budget request.” [The Hill, 12/15/11]

Abstinence Education Has Not Proven Effective – But Comprehensive Sex-Ed Has

2011 Study: States With Abstinence-Only Public School Education Have Higher Teen Pregnancy Rates. From the University of Georgia:

States that prescribe abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools have significantly higher teenage pregnancy and birth rates than states with more comprehensive sex education programs, researchers from the University of Georgia have determined.

The researchers looked at teen pregnancy and birth data from 48 U.S. states to evaluate the effectiveness of those states’ approaches to sex education, as prescribed by local laws and policies.

“Our analysis adds to the overwhelming evidence indicating that abstinence-only education does not reduce teen pregnancy rates,” said Kathrin Stanger-Hall, assistant professor of plant biology and biological sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. […]

Along with teen pregnancy rates and sex education methods, Hall and Stanger-Hall looked at the influence of socioeconomic status, education level, access to Medicaid waivers and ethnicity of each state’s teen population.

Even when accounting for these factors, which could potentially impact teen pregnancy rates, the significant relationship between sex education methods and teen pregnancy remained: the more strongly abstinence education is emphasized in state laws and policies, the higher the average teenage pregnancy and birth rates. [, accessed 2/22/12]

2007 Study: Abstinence-Only Programs Don’t Keep Teens From Having Sex. From the Washington Post: “A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration’s social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom. Authorized by Congress in 1997, the study followed 2000 children from elementary or middle school into high school. The children lived in four communities — two urban, two rural. All of the children received the family life services available in their community, in addition, slightly more than half of them also received abstinence-only education. By the end of the study, when the average child was just shy of 17, half of both groups had remained abstinent.” [Washington Post, 4/14/07]

National Campaign to Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy: No Evidence In Favor Of Abstinence Programs. From a 2007 study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy: “At present, there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence, or reduces the number of sexual partners. In addition, there is strong evidence from multiple randomized trials demonstrating that some abstinence programs chosen for evaluation because they were believed to be promising actually had no impact on teen sexual behavior. That is, they did not delay the initiation of sex, increase the return to abstinence or decrease the number of sexual partners. At the same time, they did not have a negative impact on the use of condoms or other contraceptives. […] Many of the abstinence programs improved teens’ values about abstinence or their intentions to abstain, but these improvements did not always endure and often did not translate into changes in behavior.” [The National Campaign to Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy, November 2007]

Independent 2009 CDC Task Force: “Insufficient Evidence” About Abstinence Programs. From the Washington Post: “[T]here is insufficient evidence to know whether programs that focus on encouraging teens to remain sexually abstinent until marriage are effective, the panel concluded.” [Washington Post, 2/22/12]

Guttmacher: “Strong Evidence” In Favor Of Comprehensive Sex Ed. From the Guttmacher Institute: “Strong evidence suggests that comprehensive approaches to sex education help young people both to withstand the pressures to have sex too soon and to have healthy, responsible and mutually protective relationships when they do become sexually active.” [Guttmacher Institute, February 2012]

2011 Study: Lowest Teen Pregnancy Rates Occurred In States That Mandated Comprehensive Sex-Ed. From the University of Georgia: “The paper indicates that states with the lowest teen pregnancy rates were those that prescribed comprehensive sex and/or HIV education, covering abstinence alongside proper contraception and condom use. States whose laws stressed the teaching of abstinence until marriage were significantly less successful in preventing teen pregnancies.” [, accessed 2/22/12]

2009 CDC Task Force: Comprehensive Sex-Ed Programs Are Effective In Reducing Risky Sexual Behavior. From the Washington Post: “Sex-education programs that encourage teens to delay sexual activity and teach them about contraception cut risky sexual behavior, increase condom use and lower the chances of getting the AIDS virus and other infections, a panel of independent experts concluded in a report released Friday. […] The conclusions came after the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent 15-member panel that issues public-health recommendations, reviewed an analysis of 83 studies of sexual-education programs conducted between 1980 and 2007. The analysis was conducted by a 19-member team of experts assembled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine the politically sensitive question.” [Washington Post, 2/22/12]

National Campaign to Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy: Two-Thirds Of Comprehensive Programs Had “Positive Behavioral Effects.” From a 2007 study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy: “Two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens had positive behavioral effects. Specifically, over 40 percent of the programs delayed the initiation of sex, reduced the number of sexual partners, and increased condom or contraceptive use; almost 30 percent reduced the frequency of sex (including a return to abstinence); and more than 60 percent reduced unprotected sex. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of the programs had positive effects on more than one of these behaviors.” [The National Campaign to Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy, November 2007]

GOP Spending Bill Would Have Cut Over $700 Million From Program That Feeds Pregnant Women And Babies

WIC: Food For Pregnant Women, New Mothers, And Babies

In Their 2011 Funding Bill, House Republicans Voted To Cut Funding For Programs To Promote Health Of Pregnant Women, Infants, And Young Children. From the National Women’s Law Center: “H.R. 1 cuts $747 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, better known as the WIC program. The WIC program provides nutritious food, counseling, and other supports to 9.6 million low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and infants each month. This program makes a real difference; studies have linked WIC participation with higher birth weight and lower infant mortality.” [National Women’s Law Center, 2/23/11]

To Qualify For WIC, Mothers And Children Must Be At “Nutritional Risk”

WIC Grants Pay For Food And Health Care For Pregnant Women And Young Mothers. From the Huffington Post: “The federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program provides federal grants to states for food vouchers, regular check-ups and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women and mothers of young children.” [Huffington Post, 5/2/11]

To Qualify, WIC Applicants Must Be At “Nutritional Risk.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service: “Pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 are eligible [for WIC]. They must meet income guidelines, a State residency requirement, and be individually determined to be at ‘nutritional risk’ by a health professional.” [, accessed 2/17/12]

In FY 2011, 6.8 Million Of The Nearly 9 Million WIC Participants Were Infants Or Children. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, 8,960,439 people participated in the WIC program in fiscal year 2011. Of those, 2,102,734 were infants and 4,760,922 were children. [, 2/1/12]

GOP Spending Bill Would Also Have Cut Millions From A Health Care Program For Mothers And Their Children

House Republicans Voted To Cut Programs Supporting Prenatal Health Care. From the National Women’s Law Center: “H.R. 1 cuts $50 million from the Title V Maternal & Child Health Block Grant. Title V supported programs provide prenatal health services to 2.5 million women and primary and preventive health care to 31 million children each year. Cuts this deep will devastate state and local programs serving women, babies, children, and children with special health care needs.” [National Women’s Law Center, 2/23/11]

Title V Seeks To Reduce The U.S.’ Higher-Than-Average Infant Mortality Rate

The Maternal And Child Health Program Seeks To Reduce Infant Mortality And Provide Health Care For Low-Income And At-Risk Pregnant Women. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Title V Maternal and Child health Program seeks to:

  1. Assure access to quality care, especially for those with low-incomes or limited availability of care;
  2. Reduce infant mortality;
  3. Provide and ensure access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care to women (especially low-income and at risk pregnant women);
  4. Increase the number of children receiving health assessments and follow-up diagnostic and treatment services;
  5. Provide and ensure access to preventive and child care services as well as rehabilitative services for certain children;
  6. Implement family-centered, community-based, systems of coordinated care for children with special healthcare needs; and
  7. Provide toll-free hotlines and assistance in applying for services to pregnant women with infants and children who are eligible for Title XIX (Medicaid). [, accessed 2/17/12]

The U.S. Infant Mortality Rate Is Higher Than The Average For Developed Regions. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the average infant mortality rate in the United States over 2005-2010 was 7 infant deaths per 1000 live births. The infant mortality rate for “more developed regions” (which includes Europe, Northern America, Australia/New Zealand and Japan) over the 2005-2010 period was 6 infant deaths per 1000 live births. [, accessed 2/21/12]

The Primary Reason For High Infant Mortality Rates Is Preterm Births. From the Population Reference Bureau: “A new report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics finds that a higher rate of premature births in the United States is the main reason for this poor ranking on infant mortality. In 2004, one in eight U.S. births (12.4 percent) were preterm—born before 37 weeks of gestation—much higher than recorded in most European countries, and double the proportion in Ireland, Finland, and Greece (see figure). Most fully developed babies are born at 37 to 42 weeks of gestation.” [, December 2009]

Title V Serves Most American Women Who Give Birth

Title V Is The Only Federal Program That Is Focused Only On Improving The Health Of Mothers And Children. From the Department of Health and Human Services: “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supports a wide range of programs designed to prevent infant mortality, led by the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States (Title V), administered by HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and funded at $730 million (FY 2005). Title V is the only federal program that focuses solely on improving the health of all mothers and children.” [, 1/13/06]

Most (60 Percent) Of Women Who Give Birth In A Given Year Get Support From Title V. From the Department of Health and Human Services: “HRSA provides block grants to states to develop service systems to meet critical challenges in maternal and child health, including reducing infant mortality. These state efforts are developed with careful attention to Health Status Indicators and National Performance Measures, among them those that emphasize the importance of adequate prenatal care in improving the health of pregnant women and reducing infant mortality. In an average year, about 60 percent of U.S. women who give birth receive services through MCH programs.” [, 1/13/06]