by Daniel Patrick Moloney
“Family planning services reduce costs.” That’s what Speaker Nancy Pelosi told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. She was defending a provision in the original stimulus bill that would have spent hundreds of millions of dollars for birth control. Republicans had criticized this provision, and so the Speaker responded that promoting contraception among poor people would both stimulate the economy and save the government money on welfare payments.
As the video clip shot around the web, public reaction was intense, and overwhelmingly negative—how could anybody think that preventing poor people from being born was the moral way to help poor people out of poverty? It had the air of eugenics about it, as if she were saying that one generation of poor people is enough. Even the liberal partisan Chris Matthews thought Pelosi’s position resembled China’s one-child policy. In response to the backlash, the President told Pelosi to remove the contraception funding from the stimulus bill.