The Cost of Cutting Family Planning Abroad

One area where Republicans were looking to trim fat from the budget was international family planning. When the House passed H.R.1, their ideal budget, at the end of March, they slashed family-planning assistance by $200 million, a 30 percent reduction. In the final budget, that number has been reduced to $73 million. Based on calculations by the Guttmacher Institute, here’s what that translates into:

  • 4.5 million fewer women and couples receive contraceptive services/supplies;
  • Roughly 1.4 million more unintended pregnancies, 600,000 more unplanned births;
  • 450,000 more unsafe abortions;
  • 3750 maternal deaths;
  • 17,250 children would lose their mothers.

The new budget also cuts $15 million from the United Nations Population Fund, which provides family-planning assistance in 150 countries.

As Republicans in Congress tried to defund Planned Parenthood and Title X family planning in the last few months, cuts Americans oppose, they were portrayed as radical by going after contraception and basic health care rather than just abortion. But that’s exactly what they are doing overseas. While it was crucial that lawmakers and activists came together to maintain Planned Parenthood and Title X, the same brand of anti-contraception radicalism goes largely unchecked when it comes to women abroad. It’s to Democrats' credit, though, that Obama pushed back Republican demands for a group of people who have no vote or sway in Washington. The cuts could have been much bigger with no political blowback. 

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