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CO Health, Family Planning Groups Give Thumbs Up to Obama Spending Plan

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March 9, 2009

Denver - They say it's a smart plan that puts the basic health of Colorado women and families back where it should be. Public health and family planning groups in the state have pored over President Obama's proposed budget, and give it a thumbs up for major funding increases for sex education, basic health services for under-insured and uninsured families, and access to affordable birth control.

Leslie Durgin with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains says taxpayer money spent on basic health care and family planning can lead to big savings down the road.

"Every dollar that is put in for family planning prevents the expense of four dollars in Medicaid."

Durgin says too often the phrase "family planning" is associated with abortion, but that planning really is needed to reduce the number of abortions.

"By preventing unintended pregnancy, it will cause the rate of abortions to decrease significantly."

Durgin says access to affordable basic care and family planning also helps to empower women.

"It empowers them to have access to affordable care, regardless of income, to lead healthy, responsible lives."

She says that according to a Guttmacher Institute study, publicly-funded family planning programs have helped to prevent nearly two million unplanned pregnancies each year in recent years.

Opponents of the spending say it comes at a bad time economically and is unfair to private insurance companies and to taxpayers who oppose birth control and sex education. Supporters counter that it's a matter of public health and economics, and say that recent abstinence-only policies haven't worked.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO