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Catholics for Choice Statement on President’s FY 2009 Budget

February 8, 2008

Washington, DC – Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement about President George W. Bush’s FY 2009 budget:

“The cuts proposed for various reproductive health and rights initiatives in President Bush’s FY 2009 budget do not reflect the wishes of mainstream America, and especially not those of American Catholics.

In his budget, the president has proposed:

  • To cut $570 million from federal funding for Medicaid family planning services in 2009, with some $3.3 billion in cuts over the next five years.
  • To reduce federal matching funds for state Medicaid family planning services from the current 90 percent to between 50 and 76 percent.
  • To flat-line funding provided to state maternal and child health programs, some of which include family planning assistance.
  • To increase funding for abstinence-only sexuality education by $28 million-an increase for a program that study after study shows does not work.
  • To cut international family planning and reproductive health funding by 29 percent overall, offering $134 million less than Congress asked for.

“However, poll after poll has shown that Catholics support aid for international family planning and reject abstinence-only education. Studies show that properly directed funding for international family planning programs saves women’s lives and allow them to plan whether and when to have children. Many studies, including some sponsored by the US Congress, show that abstinence-only programs do not reduce the need for abortion.

“The president and his advisers are all familiar with the results of these studies. In similar fashion, they also follow closely what pollsters find. The United States government has a long record of providing generous assistance to the needy overseas, in particular for its support for the campaign to reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS. As the president enters his final year in office and seeks to cement his legacy, he can be assured that if he proposed more funding for comprehensive sexuality education programs and reproductive health services both at home and abroad, he would hear few complaints from the nation’s Catholics, and would likely hear widespread praise.”