Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How Loss of Title X Funding nearly resulted in 49 Abortions.

In March the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) rejected Title X funding. The Republic reported "[T]he reasoning behind their decision is that taxpayer money shouldn’t be spent to hand out contraceptives."  Then the BOCC accepted, from Miami County women, an amount equal to the grant.  The County matched those funds by half, just as they would have matched the grant money.

Arithmetic and numbers is important to understanding what the BOCC did.  There has been confusion about the amount of the grant.  The grant request was for $30,000.  The grant award was $9,000.  The county has always matched half, or $4,500.  If the grant awarded was $20,000 the match would be $10,000.  That's the way it works.

Title X serves the County's Family Planning Clinic.  A volunteer for the Health Department prepared a report which the BOCC had prior to rejecting Title X funds.  That reports says that 54% the women using this program are below the poverty line and 20% are below 150% of that standard.  77% of these women, 116, have no insurance. 

What could go wrong?  Our County does not have a safety net clinic and private physicians cannot afford to absorb the costs of health care on a pro bono basis.  Women with limited means tend to buy food, pay rent, or take care of necessities instead of spending on their health care.  Missed infections can lead to costly emergency room visits, increasing hospital costs for everyone.

The report made a statistical analysis about the impact of denying Title X funds.  According to the report 85% of women with regular sexual activity will become pregnant within one year.  That means these 116 women will have 98 pregnancies. 

What happens to those 98 pregnancies?  Following national trends 49 of them will result in live births and 49 of them will be terminated.  I asked if those 49 terminations included miscarriages or spontaneous abortions.  The answer was no.  Denying Title X created the circumstance for 49 abortions.  Clearly the BOCC didn't think this through.

Of the remaining 49 pregnancies 30 result in normal vaginal deliveries and 19 require caesarian section.  Hospital costs for uncomplicated deliveries are less than $9,000.  That is $270,000 for 30 women.  Hospital costs for c-sections are more than $15,000, or at least $285,000 for 19 women.  That is over a half a million dollars.  We have to ask ourselves what is more cost efficient, matching $4,500 for the Title X grant or covering $555,000 in hospital costs?

Uninsured women tend to receive no prenatal care, putting both mom and baby at risk for additional health issues.  The baby will likely be taken to a special care nursery. Women lacking prenatal care do not get the counseling Title X provides.  They aren't alerted to the importance of stopping smoking, drinking, taking prescription drugs, or other drugs.  There is no opportunity to tell them to avoid exposure to certain environmental or chemical toxins.

In 2010 the health department Title X grant was $8,398.00 The County matched half of that or $4,199 for salaries.  The clinic earned $6,455.58 in fees.  Expenses that year were $10,883.90.  The Family Planning Clinic was in the black by nearly $4,000.

We did not see 49 abortions this year, or escalating rates of sexually transmitted diseases, or a disruption of adult vaccinations because Miami County women stepped up.  The October mammogram clinic is funded by Saint Luke's Hospital, thanks Episcopalians.

What will we do next year?  Rely on the generosity of women or see the BOCC make better choices? 




Saturday, October 13, 2012

Report to Miami County, Kansas on Impact of Gutting Title X Funding

This is what the Board of County Commissioners [BOCC] knew, or should have known, before voting to gut Title X funding for Miami County, Kansas.  And yes, when the report talks about "terminated pregnancies" it means abortions, not spontaneous miscarriages.  The economic impact on the county is catastrophic and the humanitarian impact on lower income women and children is despicable.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Inspired by a Letter to the Editor

Last week the Miami County Republic ran a guest column I wrote called "Fairness needs to be the focal point during this election season".  See,  In this piece I skewered Paul Ryan as being an adherent of Ayn Rand's godless philosophy, the Romney/Ryan tax plan, the Browback tax plan, and certain (anti-abortion) single issue voters.
Today's Republic contains my first letter to the editor, not from me but about me.  I am delighted.  Public Opinion needs to be a two way street and I am grateful for the lady who sat down and put pen to paper to tell us how I made her feel. 
This lady's opening volley is that "we still live in the greatest nation, for now anyway".   That puzzled me, I could have seen something about politics making strange bedfellows or challenging my fuzzy math on tax policy.  Since I didn't take a stand on American greatness I went ahead and took a look at it.
Fortunately, the good people at the Pew Institute did all the work,  It seems that Americans don't all agree that we are number one.  The differences spread out over a range of demographic categories.
First is how we view that question of greatness when you sort us by our ages.  Younger Americans are less likely to say that America is the greatest nation. 

Next Pew looked at how we answer that question based on our politics.  The most conservative are most likely to agree that America is the greatest nation on earth.  At the other end of the spectrum the most liberal are most likely to disagree with the statement.  Across the board 38% of all Americans say America is the greatest, 53% say we are among the world's great nations, and 8% say there are other nations greater than America.

The lady who wrote the letter then said something about which she and I will have to agree to disagree.  She thinks most voters are single issue voters looking out for themselves first. 

We may be talking about apples and oranges.  Single issue voters will only vote for candidates who agree with them on that issue.  For these voters their issue is a litmus test. 

Categorically, we know that all voters are not single issue voters.  For insight I visited an article published by the famous Pollsters at Gallup.  In an article written about single issue voters in the race between Kerry and Bush, I found the example I was looking for.  The article was written by Lydia Saad, a senior Gallup Poll Editor.  You can find the entire article online at

My position is that the anti-abortion voters whose sole criteria in voting is to select anti-abortion candidates abdicate their power over all other issues.  What they get are legislators who wreck the environment, who defund our schools, who manipulate the tax code for the very rich, and do many other things that the voters would not approve if they sat down and thought about the votes of their legislators.  Instead these voters have become accustomed to being told what they want to hear.  They do not require accountability from their elected officials.
In Kansas the Romney/Ryan tax plan is not just hypothetical it is called the Brownback tax fiasco.  In Kansas those earning $25,000 or less will see a 5000% tax hike next year.  Back to the point, Kansans earning $25,000 or less, cannot afford to vote for their anti-abortion candidate, since those are the legislators who voted to increase their taxes.
For the record, I never said anything about gay marriage, nor do I feel obliged to respond to her rant on the topic.  You may note the "equality on board" logo on this Blog's page and know that I stand in solidarity with those who for too long have been denied equal protection of the law.  One does not need to be aggrieved by the injustice to be offended by it.
The letter's final valid point is well taken.  The lady suggested that voters pray before going to the polls.  That's good, but here she and I will have to again agree to disagree.  You see it is equally important to think before you vote.  Single issue voters don't do this.  Single issue voters get the government they deserve because they have squandered the power of the ballot box.