Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Impact of Sequestration on Women, Children and Families

(WASHINGTON) – This afternoon, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement on the devastating impact that automatic end of year budget cuts, mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, would have on women, children and families:

“I rise today as the voice for millions of women, children and low income families to urge my colleagues to work towards a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include deeper cuts to programs designed to promote and protect the health of women and children,” said Conyers.

“By eliminating nearly one billion dollars in federal funding, if implemented, this 8.2 percent across the board cut would drastically hinder access to critical health care services delivered to mothers and babies in need, stunt the impact and development of prevention initiatives, reduce vital funding for medical research, and disproportionately impact low-income and uninsured families. 

“Additionally, it would significantly reduce funding for critical programs important to the development of children such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, the Section 317 Immunization Program, the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Visitation Program, the Prevention and Public Health Fund, Safe Motherhood, and the National Institutes Child Health and Human Development.  In Michigan alone these cuts would result in 20,700 mothers and young children being cut from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and over $1 million cut from the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program, which the state relies heavily on to train its next generation of pediatricians. 

“Playing a game of chicken with budget sequestration is despicable and we must work toward a fair and plausible resolution of this issue that does not trade away the health and well being of our children.

“Furthermore, children depend on healthy moms and millions of women rely on federally funded programs like Title X Family Planning for basic health and prenatal care.  However, this looming budget sequestration would jeopardize the health of these women by inhibiting access to critical health services, thereby increasing the risk of life-threatening cancer and other diseases that could have been prevented by health screenings offered through Title X services.  In Michigan, 2,700 fewer women will be screened for cancer as a result of the sequestration’s cut of over $712,800 from the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

“Lastly, women’s health would not only be impacted, but also women’s economic well-being.  These automatic cuts will create overwhelming job loss at a time when both men and women struggle to find work due to no fault of their own. Moreover, sequestration cuts coupled with the persistent gender wage gap is a recipe for disaster that middle and lower income families cannot afford.  Therefore, I will not casually stand by while my colleagues threaten unbearable sacrifices that disproportionately impact the well being of children, women and their families.  I urge that with compassionate hearts, we work together to alleviate current suffering and pursue a legislative solution that does not target non-defense discretionary programs for additional cuts.”

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