Obama Medicaid Family Planning Decision "Disheartening and Short-Sighted"
Statement of Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey, President and CEO
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
January 27, 2009
The decision to eliminate the Medicaid family planning expansion provision
from the Economic Stimulus package is disheartening and short-sighted. Reproductive
health care may be extraneous to economic recovery for politicians secure
in their government jobs but it is not for poor and low-income women.
A woman living in poverty is four times as likely to have an unintended pregnancy
and five times as likely to have an unintended birth as her higher-income
Access to reproductive health information and services allows women to continue
their education, thereby improving their economic status and the well-being
of their families and their communities. By denying these realities and failing
to address issues so central to the health and well-being of women, their
families and their communities, we are perpetuating an intolerable cycle of
The Medicaid family planning expansion provision would eliminate the need
for states to obtain a formal Department of Health and Human Services “waiver”
in order to expand Medicaid eligibility for family planning services to a
greater population of low-income, uninsured women.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is an interfaith alliance
comprising millions of Americans who want to eliminate the terrible disparities
in access to health care. Reversing these disparities through provisions such
as family planning is not only an issue of social justice but also sound fiscal
We urge policymakers to include provisions such as the Medicaid Family Planning
State Option in the Economic Stimulus package to enable those most severely
impacted by our economic crisis to participate in our nation’s recovery.
RCRC member organizations are from 15 denominations and faith traditions,
including the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), two agencies of
the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist
Association, Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Judaism, and Catholics
for Choice. Member organizations share a commitment to reproductive choice
on religious groups, but Coalition membership does not require or imply conformity
to all the actions and initiatives of the Coalition.
Ask President Obama to increase access to family planning
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