FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2009
NARAL Pro-Choice America Hails Senate Passage of Budget Bill
Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today hailed the congressional passage of budget legislation that increases funding for family planning, fixes a federal law that caused birth-control prices to skyrocket at health centers across the country, and cuts funding for Bush's failed "abstinence-only" programs that censor life-saving information from teens.
NARAL Pro-Choice America mobilized its members to urge passage of the measure, which included a provision that was needed to correct an unintended consequence from a 2005 law that caused the price of contraception to skyrocket at college health centers and family-planning clinics nationwide. NARAL Pro-Choice America and its state affiliates organized a year-long effort calling on Congress to make this much-needed fix, which has no cost to taxpayers.
"The best way to explain this bill is that funding for good programs is going up, while funding for bad ones is going down. We salute pro-choice leaders in Congress for passing legislation that will make a difference for women and their families hit hard by this economic crisis," Keenan said. "This bill reflects the commonsense, common-ground solutions that Americans want their leaders to focus on during this challenging time. It increases funding for domestic family-planning programs that will make birth control and basic health services, such as breast-cancer exams, more affordable for women who have lost their jobs and the insurance coverage those jobs provided. It fixes a flaw in federal law that led to skyrocketing birth-control prices on college campuses and in health centers across the country. It is especially fitting that President Obama will sign a bill into law that includes this provision since he was the chief sponsor of the legislation in the Senate."
Keenan, a former elected state education official from Montana, also said the measure includes a $14 million cut for the failed "abstinence-only" programs of the Bush era.
"In this economic climate, it is unconscionable to force American taxpayers to continue to fund programs that are unrealistic and unworkable," Keenan said. "This bill marks a first stop toward ending Bush's failed ‘abstinence-only’ policies and investing instead in fact-based, comprehensive sex education that prevents teen pregnancy and protects our young people from sexually transmitted disease."
Keenan also credited Congress for increasing funds for international family-planning programs that improve the world's poorest women's access to health services, including birth control, that help prevent unintended pregnancy and thus reduce the need for abortion.