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January 7, 2011

Pence Threatens to Destroy Family-Planning Centers

Anti-choice lawmaker attacks women's access to contraception and cancer screenings

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said today that threatened legislation from Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) would de-fund family-planning clinics, yet another example of how anti-choice politicians are out of touch with the American public's priorities and values.

"Rep. Pence is launching a direct attack on birth control, and the hypocrisy in that is twofold.  First, anti-choice politicians claim they oppose abortion, but then try to block women's access to contraception, which is the best way to reduce the need for abortion," Keenan said. "Second, the public did not call on the new Congress to take away women's access to basic health-care services, including birth control and cancer screenings—but that's exactly the effect Pence's attack would have on women across the country."

Although the bill is not yet publicly available, Keenan said she expects this year's to resemble past versions, which are thinly disguised attacks on contraception.  Title X is the nation's only program dedicated solely to family planning for low-income Americans. Of the 4,600 total health centers that receive Title X funds, Planned Parenthood operates 575 clinics.  Disqualifying these health clinics from Title X would disrupt the program entirely - which unfortunately is the sponsor's likely goal.  In 2009, the House rejected a similar amendment to a spending bill, but the composition of the House has changed, with anti-choice politicians now holding 246 out of 435 seats.

Keenan also said the Pence announcement comes on the heels of other anti-choice activity related to the push to repeal the health-reform law. In addition to next week's vote to repeal the law, Boehner also scheduled a vote on a separate resolution urging committees to replace the health-care law with proposals that could include a Stupak-like ban on abortion coverage.

For more information, please visit NARAL Pro-Choice America's website, where you can find more information about other potential anti-choice attacks in the new Congress.

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