Just a few weeks back when Obama asked Democratic leaders to remove a family-planning provision from the stimulus bill, some people–I’m looking at you, Cecile Richards–declared the move “a betrayal of millions of low-income women” and despaired of ever expanding access to Medicaid-covered family planning services.
Turn with me to page 127 in your copy of the FY2010 budget and you’ll see that one of the items under health reform is: “Expand availability of family planning services under Medicaid.” To be fair, Richards and Planned Parenthood are now giving Obama credit for the move. And some will no doubt argue that it was the outcry from reproductive health advocates that led to this line in the budget. It’s also possible that White House aides meant it when they said a few weeks ago that the President supported expanding family-planning services but just didn’t want it to be an issue in the stimulus fight.
As for conservatives who are readying their “Stop the Abortion Industry!” placards and talking points, they should chill out as well and read my explanations of what this provision would and would not do. I don’t begrudge people strongly-held views on causes that are important to them. But everyone, on all sides, should be held to the standard of making real arguments on behalf of their position instead of relying on scare tactics.