Americans Support Family Planning, Oppose GOP


As Republicans press forward with their political attacks on Planned Parenthood, a new poll shows that a large majority of Americans support public funding for family planning.

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners, found that Americans across all demographic and political groupings favor public funding for family planning by a two-to-one margin, even when considering fears about the federal budget deficit.

“While Congress may be divided, the voters are not,” Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners said at a press briefing session annoncing the results. “And it is a voting issue.”

The survey, taken in late May, found that 84 percent of Americans view family planning, including contraception, as a basic preventive health care service.

In addition, 67 percent feel that way strongly, the poll found. Four in 10 said they would be less likely to support elected officials who vote to cut or eliminate funding for family planning. Six in 10 Americans also agree that everyone has a right to safe, affordable family planning services, while only 31 percent agree that budget concerns should require cuts in funding for family planning.

In a press statement, Clare Coleman, president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, noted that Title X supported more than 4,500 health centers nationwide that helped a record 5.2 million people in the recession year of 2009. Federal funding tops out at only $300 million budget, which meets less than a third of the need.

“This network is now being attacked with a fury we have never seen before,” Coleman said, adding that Title X providers saw an increase of more than 134,000 patients in 2009.

“Using contraception is not controversial in American homes," Coleman continued. "Women spend about five years either being pregnant or trying to get pregnant and about 30 years trying not to get pregnant. Americans need family planning services, and they trust Title X providers for high-quality, compassionate care.”

Despite having won control of the House of Representatives and many state governments in the 2010 elections because of their promise to create jobs, Republicans seem to have made ending public funding for family planning their main political issue in 2011.

As part of the press event announcing the release of the polling results, former Colorado Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder said most Americans would be shocked to learn how Republicans have put family planning in danger. They would likely be less surprised to learn, however, that most of Title X's opponents in Congress are male Republicans.

“This is a manā€made political storm,” she said. “If you think the $300 million that goes to family planning is going to balance the budget, I have a bridge I want to sell you.”

Critics of the Republican attack on Planned Parenthood and family planning funding note that their efforts neither do nothing to create jobs nor reduce the deficit. Instead, they impose enormous burdens on working families.

Photo by Women's eNews/cc by 2.0/Flickr

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