Congressman David Schweikert, tagged the most-conservative freshman in Congress, recently voted with his House brethren to bar all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. His vote, disguised as a budget-saving and pro-life measure, is an attack on contraception and women's health. Incredible, considering that the overwhelming majority of Americans, including a majority of all political persuasions, say they support birth control.

Currently, the federal government provides $75 million for Planned Parenthood to offer health and family-planning services to low-income Americans. None of that goes to abortions (remember the Hyde Amendment?). Instead, that money funds contraception, breast exams, cancer screening, HIV and STD testing, and counseling on safer sex and infertility. Planned Parenthood's abortion services are funded separately, making up 3 percent of their services.

Unfund Planned Parenthood and you will be looking at the unintended consequences of more (unwanted) pregnancies and more abortions, which no one from any political party wants to see happen. According to a new Guttmacher Institute report (www.guttmacher.org), publicly funded planning services prevent 1.94 million unintended pregnancies and 810,000 abortions every year.

In addition, this draconian action will actually stymie efforts to balance the budget, as Planned Parenthood and other family-planning services save taxpayers $4 for every $1 invested!

This life-saving issue now goes before the Senate. Please call Senators Kyl (602-840-1891) and McCain (602-952-2410) and urge them to restore funding to Planned Parenthood. While you're at it, let Schweikert (480-946-2411) know that we will hold him accountable for his unconscionable vote to undermine women's health and the federal budget.

Lauren Kuby

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