On Thursday, Republicans will attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Based on nothing more than heavily-edited, lie-filled anti-choice propaganda videos and a misguided and delusional belief that they are on a mission from God, right-wing extremists have decided that they have had enough of an organization that exists to promote women’s — and men’s — health.
“Planned Parenthood is under attack and it’s up to all of us to fight back. Any society that respects women must respect their right to control their own bodies,” economist Robert Reich said in a MoveOn.org video uploaded Monday. He says that while there is a strong moral case to be made for allowing women rights to their own bodies, but one factor we need to consider in this almost insane quest to defund Planned Parenthood is the economic impact of such a decision.
“Public investments in family planning — enabling women to plan, delay, or avoid pregnancy — make economic sense, because reproductive rights are also productive rights,” Reich says. “When women have control over their lives, they can contribute even more to the economy, better break the glass ceiling, equalize the pay gap, and much more.”
Reich points to the success of Colorado’s immensely successful family planning program. Between 2009 and 2013, thanks to birth control and other services provided, pregnancy (and abortion) rates dropped by about 40 percent among teens — which prompted led Republicans to cut some of the most effective parts of the program.
“In 2009, half of all first births to women in the poorest areas of the state occurred before they turned 21,” Reich notes. “But by 2014, half of first births did not occur until the women had turned 24, a difference that gives young women time to finish their education and obtain better jobs.” Nationally, he points out, family planning services save taxpayers $13.6 billion each year — an astounding $7 return for each dollar spent.
“Yet, over the last five years Republicans have cut 10 percent of the Title X federal budget for family planning, which also pays for critical services such as cancer screenings and HIV tests,” the economist continues. “And the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee has gone as far as trying to eliminate the program.”
Reich points out that many states have been cutting or eliminating family planning funds — an act he calls not just “morally wrong,” but “bad economics.” He has a clear message for Republicans: “We all benefit when society respects women to control their bodies and plan their families.”
Watch Reich’s latest video, which addresses the issue in detail, below:
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.