ACLU Calls On Congress And President Obama To Renew Their Commitment To Greater Family Planning Access

January 28, 2009 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today was disappointed to learn that the Medicaid Family Planning State Option provision was removed from the economic stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, currently under consideration by Congress. The ACLU calls on President Obama and Congress to renew their support for this important family planning measure that would expand access to reproductive health care, including contraception, for low-income Americans and serve as a huge cost saving measure for the federal government.

“The removal of the Medicaid Family Planning State Option, fueled by the anti-choice rhetoric of certain lawmakers, was an unfortunate turn of events and one that we hope will be remedied in the very near future,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Our elected officials should be fighting to improve the health of low-income women by increasing access to health care services, such as contraceptives. Family planning services are a critical part of the continuum of health care needs and access to these services can increase women’s choices and opportunities at home, in the workplace and in the broader community.”

As written in the proposed economic stimulus package, the Medicaid Family Planning State Option would allow states to expand their family planning services, such as cancer screenings and access to contraception, while removing the cumbersome Medicaid waiver process. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Medicaid Family Planning State Option could save the federal government in excess of $700 million over a ten year period.

Fredrickson added, “In the November elections, Americans voted for change. Speedy passage of the Medicaid Family Planning State Option is a significant step in the right direction.”

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