Republican & Democratic 2012 Proposed Federal Budgets & Women's Programs

RedTracker | Budget proposals are out from both Republicans and President Obama. Neither party digs in to significantly reform the big entitlement programs, military spending and taxation policies that will break America’s economy in the coming years.

Republicans, in particular, are focused on the 12% of America’s Federal budget attached to programs that support social services, many of them women’s programs. Ms. Magazine reports on details of the two plans:

Republican Budget and Women

The plan zeroes out funding for the 40-year-old Title X family-planning program. That popular program, which has historically had strong bipartisan support, provides five million women with access to contraception and family-planning services each year through local clinics. Ironically, it achieves several cherished Republican goals–reducing teen pregnancy and abortions–while saving $4 for every $1 spent by saving on social services such as Medicaid payouts for pregnancy-related and newborn care.

In 2009 the widely-respected Guttmacher Institute reported that 1.94 million unintended pregnancies and 810,000 abortions are prevented each year by these publicly-funded family planning services.

Republicans also calling for:

  • A 32 percent cut in international family planning–and a note specifically forbidding a cent of it from going to the UNFPA, which provides reproductive- and maternal-health care to the developing world
  • $747 million cut from the Women Infant Children (WIC) program, which provides food and nutrition for low-income pregnant women, new mothers and children under the age of 5
  • $110 million cut in teen-pregnancy-prevention community grants
  • $50 million decrease in maternal and child health block grants, which all states receive
  • $1.83 billion cut in Head Start programs, which double as crucial pre-kindergarten childcare for low-income families
  • $170 million cut in Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs

President Obama’s Budget and Women

President Obama envisions something quite different for women in his 2012 budget, which would cut $1.1 trillion over 10 years but strengthen rather than defund women’s programs. His plan includes:

  • An $11 million increase in Title X funding
  • A 9 percent increase in international family-planning funding, including $57.5 million to UNFPA
  • $7.9 billion for nutrition programs for infants, new mothers and young children
  • $270 million for teen pregnancy prevention and related efforts, with $132 earmarked specifically for evidence-based (read: non-abstinence-only) programs
  • Money to promote women in science, math and engineering, fields where they are dramatically underrepresented
  • $96 million for the (disproportionately women) caregivers of the aging or people with disabilities
  • A 12 percent increase in health care for women veterans–desperately needed by those coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq with PTSD 
  • Increases for Medicare and Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and early childhood education programs

Note: the NYTimes has an excellent graphic that helps readers understand President Obama’s $3.7 trillion proposed budget.