Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Stimulus Package Contains Money for Contraceptives

One of the lesser known aspects of the Madoff swindle is that it has left America’s number one abortion provided in dire financial straights:

Another nonprofit organization has found itself a victim of Bernie Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. A one-two punch of fundraising woes sparked by the economic crisis and the unfolding Madoff scandal have put The Planned Parenthood Federation of America on its heels, prompting a 20% layoff of staff , according to a report published on Crain’s New York’s website.

Given the vital role that organizations like Planned Parenthood play in the progressive imagination, it should come as no surprise that congressional Democrats have responded to this crisis by proposing a bailout:

Now comes the latest revelation about the congressional Democrats’ “stimulus” plan: it includes taxpayer funding for contraceptives and the abortion industry. Specifically, a provision in the legislation clears the way for expanded federal funding of contraceptives through Medicaid for those who aren’t even poor.

A Clinton-era program allows states to seek a waiver to offer Medicaid “family planning” services – even for those who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. If they seek the waiver, the federal government matches the state funding with $9 for every $1.

Yesterday, during consideration of the congressional Democrats’ spending bill by the House Energy & Commerce Committee, the panel eliminated the waiver requirement. The result? All 50 states will now offer Medicaid “family planning” services (including contraception) with the federal government offering the same $9 to $1 match.

Speaking on This Week, House Speaker Pelosi defended funding contraception as a part of the economic stimulus, saying that doing so “will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

I am somewhat familiar with this issue, having done work for a pro-life organization when it was opposing one of the Clinton-inspired waiver requests. The basic idea is that by paying for contraceptives now, the state can save money on things like education, health care, welfare, etc., later, because the children who would be receiving those services would never be born. A side benefit to the plan (which was not discussed publicly but which was a selling point in the committees) was that the state could count the women receiving family planning services as having health insurance, thus making it look like it had had more success in reducing the number of uninsured. Make no mistake. Should this provision of the new stimulus package be enacted, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its various affiliates will be the main beneficiaries.

Writing in the New York Times, Vox Nova’s favorite Nobel Laureate says that opposition to the stimulus package based on things like the contraception provision is “bad faith economics.” but even leaving aside the purely moral issues involved in using tax dollars to prop up America’s number one abortion provider, the contraception provision does seem to raise questions about the stimulus as a whole. Some defenders of the stimulus seem to have overly optimistic views about how it will actually play out. Brad DeLong, for example, recently defended the stimulus by arguing that there would not be any government inefficiency in the stimulus package (he also assumed that 150% of the stimulus money would be spent on currently idle resources, an optimistic assumption to say the least). Provisions like this one, however, suggest that congressional leadership may be using the stimulus as a means to give government goodies to politically favored groups, rather than for its stated purpose.

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January 26, 2009 - Posted by | Abortion, Government, Stimulus

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