Statement of Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey
President and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
WASHINGTON -- 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 counterpart.
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 poverty.
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 policy.
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.
POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW