Today is the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Griswold v. Connecticut, which held that laws criminalizing the provision of contraception were unconstitutional. Unfortunately, even though it is no longer against the law to sell or use birth control, anti-contraception lawmakers are still trying to undermine access to it.

If you live in the United States, we urge you to contact your members of Congress to let them know that you're pro-life and pro-contraception. Ask them to resist further efforts to defund Title X family planning — most Title X recipients don't perform abortions, so don't let them claim otherwise. Remind them that evidence from around the world indicates that access to modern contraception reduces abortion, and that women are more likely to use contraception consistently (and avoid unintended pregnancy and abortion) if they are ensured an adequate, affordable supply. Let them know that existing evidence does not support claims that either hormonal methods or the IUD prevent implantation. Finally, remind them that opposition to contraception is simply one viewpoint, held by a small minority of Americans, and that the rest of us deserve representation too.

David Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics and consistent life ethic proponent, and Cristina Page, a pro-choice activist, have co-authored an excellent post for the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog about preventing unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

To reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion, we know what works. And it is not simply moral outrage. Countries that have the lowest abortion rates in the world, such as Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, are those that have made contraception most easily available; typically free of charge. And so the cuts to family planning being pushed by House Republicans will have dire consequences, not only for their anti-abortion cause, but for many Americans interested in controlling when and how often to have a baby. Indeed, researchers have calculated the effect: cuts to Title X will result in an estimated 973,000 more unintended pregnancies. And those unintended pregnancies will lead to 433,000 unplanned births and 406,000 more abortions each year.

They also point out how out-of-step pro-life politicians are with the majority of grassroots pro-lifers, 80 percent of whom support contraception (a statistic I've cited many times myself, and I'm thrilled to see it get out there in a high-profile forum). If there's a group in this country more poorly represented by its so-called leadership than abortion opponents, I don't know what it is. Most Americans who identify as pro-life don't support attacks on contraception and want our kids to learn more about sex than "don't have it." We know it takes more than simply moral outrage; but moral outrage makes for great political posturing and fundraising letters. So that's what we get.

Today the House passed the Pence Amendment, which would prohibit federal family planning funds from going to providers who also perform abortions Planned Parenthood [edited after talking to Mike Pence's office]. The idea is that even though the federal funds can't go directly to abortions, paying abortion providers for other services still helps support those providers.

How many times have you heard conservatives argue against funding family planning by saying that to do so would be "giving money to Planned Parenthood"?  With that reason gone, what reason do conservative legislators have to refuse to fund family planning?

Mike Pence himself says that he doesn't oppose Title X:

"Now, I am aware that Title X family planning funds are eliminated in this bill, but eliminating Title X funding has never been my goal. I support the important work of Title X clinics across the country that provide breast cancer screenings, HIV testing, counseling, and other valuable family planning services. — Floor statement by Mike Pence

If that's true, we should lobby for another Pence Amendment — this time to restore the funding for Title X that H. R. 1 eliminates.

House Republicans are proposing big budget cuts. Of course, some things are getting cut more than others.* See that line near the bottom of the list?

Family Planning -$327M

That's the entire budget for the Title X family planning assistance program. The Title X program helps about 5 million people per year access family planning services (and thus, in many cases, avoid abortions).

Although many people believe that "family planning" is synonymous with "Planned Parenthood," note that PP received $16.9 million, or 5.7%, of the $297 million Title X budget in 2009. Most of the recipients are public health departments and other entities that do not perform abortions.

If you are a U.S. citizen, please contact your representative via email or call the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask your representative to vote "No" on the elimination of Title X family planning funding.

* I have Opinions about many of the cuts they're proposing as well as the ones they're not, but I'm trying to stay reasonably on-topic here.