Matthews Gets Alarmist Over Family Planning Measure in Stimulus Bill

A one-child policy or a provision to help low-income working women reduce health care costs?

In their latest attempt to rally against the new economic stimulus package, many conservatives are ridiculing a measure that would aid states by making it easier to provide comprehensive family planning services to low-income women. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) defended the measure on MSNBC’s Hardball this afternoon, noting that “family planning saves, if done correctly, an enormous sum of money down the road in the health care system.” However, host Chris Matthews thought the measure sounded more like something straight out of communist China:

MATTHEWS: I don’t know. It sounds a little like China. […] I think everybody should have family planning and everybody believes in birth control as a right. I’m for — abortion is a right and all that. It’s all right. But why should the federal government have a policy of reducing the number of births?

What Matthews appears to be referring to is China’s “one-child policy,” a law that prohibits most couples from bearing more than one child. But of course, the House’s stimulus provision does no such thing. Instead, like Wexler noted, it provides funds to help states and low-income working women reduce their health care costs.

Update: On CNN, Jack Cafferty claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was "starting to sound a little like Chairman Mao" because she defended the spending on family planning.
Benjamin J. Armbruster is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and at the Center for American Progress.
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