03/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

'Contraceptive Funding' Removed From Stimulus Bill Would Have Saved Taxpayer Money

Hey, folks! You remember way back when Congress was picking over the details of the economic stimulus package, and some Republicans found the word "contraception" in there and freaked out, saying it just had to, had to, HAD TO be removed before they straight up got the vapors or something? At the time, the media basically covered the matter like this: "SILLY DEMOCRATS! Trying to sneak some silly DEMOCRAT SAN FRANCISCO SEX STUFF into the bill, like always, ha ha!" An observer less obsessed with these tired and nonsensical inter-party tropes might have managed to do some actual practical reporting on the matter, and discovered that the contraception funding was actually stimulating. (I guess this is what blogs do, now.)

Well, as it turns out, that contraception provision was not just stimulating (something that should have been obvious on its face, really) but it was also a big, bold saver of taxpayer dollars. Allow Megan Carpentier to explain:

The contraception "funding" in the stimulus was actually just a piece of language that would allow states to quit writing long waiver applications to get Medicaid funding to cover contraception for low income women in the same way they already cover pre-natal care. But over the past few years, 27 states had already spent the time and money to get the waivers, and a new Guttmacher Institute report shows why:

Report co-author Rachel Benson Gold called the family planning program "smart government at its best," asserting that every dollar spent on it saves taxpayers $4 in costs associated with unintended births to mothers eligible for Medicaid-funded natal care.


Surveying data from the 2006 fiscal year, the report says the national family planning program prevented 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, including almost 400,000 teen pregnancies. Based on statistical analysis and projections, these pregnancies would have resulted in 860,000 unintended births, 810,000 abortions and 270,000 miscarriages, according to the report.

Without publicly funded family planning, it said, the U.S. abortion rate would be nearly two-thirds higher, and nearly twice as high among poor women.

So, whoever came up with this simple means of stimulating the economy, saving taxpayer money, and reducing the number of abortions was obviously some sexed-up libido demon from the Tenderloin, and whatnot.