Monday, June 6, 2011

A Life Changing Anniversary


By Patricia West

As a Pennsylvania social worker specializing in family dynamics, I’ve spent most of my 40 year career analyzing and trying out various ways to keep women healthy and safe. This month [June 7] we celebrate the anniversary of a breakthrough in that process: the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court decision that legalized contraceptive use for married couples—and more importantly, recognized an individual’s right to privacy in family planning matters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recognized family planning as one of the ten great public health advances of the 20th century. At clinics and centers that provide family planning, the complications of pregnancy that are a woman’s most common source of ill health can be prevented or treated. And our national family planning program – Title X of the Public Health Service Act of 1970 – made family planning available to low-income people as well as the rich. As a result, some 98 percent of us have used birth control at some point in our lives, and we mostly take it for granted.

We shouldn’t. The House voted recently to defund Title X completely for fiscal 2011. The Senate saved the program, but another attempt to kill it is certain this year. The attackers are using innuendo and misinformation to entangle family planning in their anti-abortion war, claiming to cut spending but ignoring the truth: Title X, the only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services, saves the government some $3.4 billion every year by preventing unintended pregnancies, nearly half of which would likely end in abortion.

Click here to read the full article.