By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
After an enormous public outcry, President Barack Obama urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove a provision from the stimulus plan that would give more than $300 million to provide greater access to contraception.
“While [Obama] agrees that greater access to family planning is good policy, the president believes that the funding for it does not belong in the economic recovery and reinvestment plan,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said during a Jan. 27 press briefing.
Gibbs admitted that the president was worried the bill would not pass unless the provision was removed.
It was an especially embarrassing flaw in the bill that was only made worse when Speaker Pelosi attempted to explain how these funds would help stimulate the economy.
“Well, the family planning services reduce cost,” she said on ABC’s This Week, inferring that children are a financial burden on the economy.
The comment outraged members of the pro-life community as well as alerted the general public to the kind of pork contained in the so-called “economic stimulus” plan.
The contraception provision was added by Congressional Democrats during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing and would have cleared the way for Planned Parenthood to receive expanded federal funding for contraceptives through the Medicaid program.
The public was alerted to the provision by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) who said there is no reason for an economic package to contain funds for the nation’s largest abortion business by qualifying more people for family planning funds under Medicaid.
As a result, President Obama agreed to strike the provision as a gesture of cooperation with Congressional Republicans.
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