Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama's Budget

By John Seager

Earlier today, the White House released the details of President Obama’s 2010 budget proposal, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you.

The new budget includes $591 million for international family planning, an increase of $46 million over the current funding level. Of that total, $50 million will be provided to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

In addition, the budget contains two provisions aimed at increasing access to family planning services for low income women: a $10 million increase to Title X, and a policy change that will extend contraceptive coverage under Medicaid while making the program more efficient and cost effective.

These numbers aren’t as high as we would have liked, but given the current economic climate, any increase is significant. It also indicates that family planning is a real priority for this administration: the overall global health budget will see an increase of $93 million, and half of that is going to family planning programs! That certainly indicates President Obama’s deep commitment to the cause, and can only bode well for the future.

There’s more immediate good news, as well. The new budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only programs, which had been lavishly funded under the Bush Administration. President Obama instead calls for a new investment in evidence-based programs for teen pregnancy prevention. I’m thrilled to see that sanity and science are back in fashion after a decade of wasteful and ideologically-driven nonsense aimed at our young people.

We’re going to need your help as this budget makes its way through Congress in the coming weeks. You can bet that foes of family planning will be looking for ways to undo our progress. We’re committed to stopping them, and I hope we can count on your support.



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