Gail Collins at the New York Times has written a couple of really good columns about the politics of abortion and family planning recently. Earlier this week, in “Behind the Abortion War,” she described the Right’s antipathy to contraception. Today, in “The New Anti-Abortion Math,” she writes about the Right’s refusal to face reality about their opposition to contraception.
Pointing to the government of the state of Texas, Collins writes,
Right now, the state is wrestling with a fiscal megacrisis that goes back to 2006, when the Legislature cut local property taxes and made up for the lost revenue with a new business tax. The new tax produced billions less than expected to the shock and horror of everyone except all the experts who had been predicting that all along.
Governor Perry blames the whole thing on President Obama.
Texasâ€™ problems are of interest to us all because Texas is producing a huge chunk of the nationâ€™s future work force with a system that goes like this:
• Terrible sex education programs and a lack of access to contraceptives leads to a huge number of births to poor women. (About 60 percent of the deliveries in Texas are financed by Medicaid.) Texas also leads the nation in the number of teenage mothers with two or more offspring.
• The Texas baby boom â€” an 800,000 increase in schoolchildren over the last decade â€” marches off to underfunded schools. Which are getting more underfunded by the minute, thanks to that little tax error.
And naturally, when times got tough at the State Capitol, one of the first things the cash-strapped Legislature tried to cut was family planning.
This is typical:
The state estimates the pregnancies averted would reduce its Medicaid bill by more than $36 million next year. But when a budget expert told the Texas House Committee on Human Services that the program saved money, he was laced into by Representative Jodie Laubenberg for using â€œgovernment math.â€
I also got a kick out of Gov. Perry’s claim that he knows abstinence education works “from personal experience.” I hadn’t heard that one before.
This goes back to my long-standing gripe that media continue to paint anti-abortion activists and pro-reproductive rights activists as equally radical and absolutist. But the major reproductive rights organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood just want to maintain the Roe v. Wade guidelines, whereas the anti-aborts don’t want to just overturn Roe v. Wade; they want to overturn Griswold v. Connecticut.