As the Bush presidency nears its end, the Christian Right is bellying up to the trough for a final feeding. They are hoping, with Bush's help, to get one more shot at their arch nemesis: the Planned Family. Thus the Unplanned Family Research Council has been spearheading a campaign to restrict federal funding for contraception to groups that offer comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion. Their goal is to throw sand in the gears of the nation's largest provider of family planning services, Planned Parenthood, by mandating onerous and superfluous policies on the health care provider. Their plan is to force Planned Parenthood to construct a chasm between the contraceptive services it provides with Title X federal funding and the abortion services it provides with its own. We won't know how burdensome the details of their plans are until released but its rumored that clinics will have to make the chasm an actual physical distance between the services, i.e. miles. One thing is for sure, when the anti-family planning crowd is at the drawing table, what's 'reasonable' won't come to mind.
Many believe Bush will alter the Title X regulations through an executive order and, given how deeply unpopular the action would be with the American public, it is suspected it could be done as early as today -- just in time for the public to be distracted by Memorial Day weekend plans.
Certainly, the stage is being set for a dramatic attack on family planning. The Unplanned Family Research Council had gotten Bush to appoint one of their own, Dr. Susan Orr, a former Senior Director for Marriage and Family Care at the Unplanned Family Research Council to oversee the Title X program. Her most notable accomplishment in the year she has served is to defend the abstinence-until-marriage approach in the face of incontrovertible evidence it has failed. Now that the Unplanned Family Research Council is within days of hitting another nail into Title X's coffin, Dr. Orr suddenly and quietly resigns from her post so, one suspects, to not appear to have orchestrated the undermining of her own program from within. Dr. Orr's appointment to oversee the program was a huge controversy, given her antipathy for contraception and devotion to her former employer which hinders Americans access to family planning. But her resignation has received no coverage. (Only our dear friends at NFPRHA have reported on it.) The agency she works for, the Department of Health and Human Services, has not even put out a press release about it and those inquiring about it by phone have been placed in automated menu oblivion.
Something in this trough smells fishy.
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