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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
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
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
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?