Republicans, Christians Blast Contraceptive Spending in Stimulus Plan

Congressional Republican leaders, along with Christian family groups, have blasted the $825 billion economic stimulus package particularly for the millions of dollars that would go toward family planning services and contraceptives.

Some Republicans have demanded the removal of a provision in the massive recovery plan that would expand Medicaid family-planning services. Those services include contraceptives. They criticized it as an example of wasteful spending that would not improve the economy, according to The Associated Press.

"How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?" said Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), on Friday.

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Under the provision, states no longer would be required to obtain federal permission to offer family planning services, including contraceptives, under Medicaid.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was recently pressed over the issue in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

She insisted that family-planning services for low income Americans would reduce government costs and said she had no apologies for the proposed initiatives.

"One of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government," said Pelosi.

"So no apologies for that?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"No apologies. No," Pelosi replied. "We have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy."

The conservative Family Research Council equated Pelosi's comments as to saying "children are a burden to the economy" and "it's the government's responsibility to eliminate them."

"Obviously, there's a practical danger in suggesting that babies are problems or 'punishments' (as President Obama called them) instead of blessings that build bridges to the future," said an e-mail alert by the Washington-based organization.

President Obama met with Republican leaders Tuesday to discuss the stimulus package and came out of the meeting feeling "optimistic" about the plan's passage.

"There are some legitimate philosophical differences" between Democrats and Republicans, Obama said, according to CNN, "and I respect that."

"I don't expect 100 percent agreement," he added. "But I hope we can put politics aside."

Obama reportedly has told congressional Democrats to drop the proposal of providing millions of dollars for family planning as he tries to court Republicans, according to The Associated Press.

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