Thursday, March 03, 2005
Not a tasseled Gucci loafer in the whole bunch
This is what lobbyists really look like.
That's nearly eight hundred volunteers, posing on the Capitol's south steps, after a hard day of advocating our government on behalf of Planned Parenthood.
People who took a day off to travel, people who took the time to visit their representatives to say, "Please don't abandon poor women."
See, it's not about 'killing babies'. It's not about abortion. It's not about ending pregnancy.
It's about preventing unwanted pregnancy, so that abortions become rarer.
Who's against that?
You see, Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured women in the United States, acoording to the August, 2004 US Census Bureau. Over 1.5 million Texas women have no health insurance. For them, the subsidized family planning visit is the only medical care they receive. These aren't abortion services, either: the program includes breast and cervical cancer screenings, diabetes, hypertension, anemia and sexually transmitted infections in addition to contraceptive methods and counseling.
And guess what? Family planning is extraordinarily cost-effective. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DHS) estimates that it costs less than $150 per client per year for preventive family planning, whereas it costs $8265 for the first year of a Medicaid pregnancy.
Every public dollar spent on preventive family planning saves $3 in Medicaid costs for prenatal and newborn care. And all of the women served by Texas' family planning program would have been eligible for Medicaid-paid prenatal care, delivery, and newborn care if they were to become pregnant.
And finally, the lobbyists pictured above represent a vast majority of Texans and their viewpoint. An August 2004 Scripps Howard Texas poll found that:
-- 80% of Texans favor increased funding for family planning, and
-- 79% of Texans agreed that Planned Parenthood should continue to provide family-planning services to low-income women.
So the next time you see someone screaming (or writing) "it's all about killing babies", remember these statistics.
And ask yourself: "Who's being extreme in their opinion, again?"