If you want to know what a Mitt Romney presidency and a Paul Ryan vice-presidency would mean for your local family planning clinic, look at what happened in Texas and Ryan's home state of Wisconsin.
Women's health clinics around the country rely on federal funding for family planning. Almost all of that money comes from two sources: Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for low-income people, pregnant women, and infants; and the decades old program known as Title X.
GOP governors like Texas's Rick Perry and Wisconsin's Scott Walker have targeted both of these income streams in their states, blocking many clinics from receiving crucial funds. But Romney and Ryan would gut both programs on the federal level, all but ensuring that clinics in blue states have to close, too.
"What has [been] done in Texas, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would do in all 50 states if elected," says Justine Sessions, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, which operates family planning clinics nationwide.
Title X was established in 1970 to provide birth control and preventative health services to millions of men and women across the US, regardless of income or insurance status. In 2010, clinics funded by Title X performed over 6 million Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) tests, according to STD awareness organizations. Planned Parenthood alone provides care to about one-third of Title X patients. And some studies show that Title X family planning actually saves taxpayers money—according to Guttmacher Institute, which promotes reproductive rights worldwide, in the US "every $1.00 invested in helping women avoid pregnancies they did not want to have saved $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures."
Despite those statistics, Title X has drawn fierce opposition from the two men at the top of the GOP ticket. Last year, Ryan supported a bill that would have amended Title X to prohibit grants from being awarded to groups like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions. (Such groups are already forbidden from spending federal money on the procedures.) Romney wrote in a USA Today op-ed that he would scrap the Title X program entirely to cut costs.
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