GOP Supports Birth Control For Horses, But Not For Humans

February 17, 2011 2:27 pm ET — Media Matters Action Network

Rep. Dan Burton's Office

Politico reports on one of the stranger GOP spending bill amendments:  

A Republican representative has introduced a spending bill amendment aimed at promoting the use of contraception - by horses.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) introduced the amendment, which would control the population of wild horses and burros as an alternative to the costly practice of capturing the animals and holding them in pens, which the Bureau of Land Management currently employs.

The amendment would modify the budget to bar "funds made available by this Act [from being] used for the gathers and removals of free-roaming wild horses and burros, except for the purpose of fertility control."

Burton's amendment comes as Republicans seek to cut off funding for Title X, the only federal program devoted to family planning among humans.

RH Reality Check editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson responds:

I agree that holding wild horses in pens is cruel and unusual punishment and that it is more humane to use this option.

What mystifies me is this: Access to contraception and other reproductive health services for low-income women and women struggling in poverty in the United States saves nearly $4.00 for every $1.00 spent by the federal government.  Programs like Title X, which Burton and his comrades in the House are intent on gutting this same day, offer essential preventive services--detection and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, screening for breast and cervical cancer, contraception to plan families, and a wealth of other otherwise unavailable health services. These programs reduce the need for abortion, allow families to plan, reduce disease, and save countless dollars in reduced mortality and improved public health.

It's also worth mentioning that Burton's amendment, regardless of its merit, is exactly the kind of thing that Republicans gleefully mock when Democrats propose similar measures. However, since Burton is one of their own, Republicans passed the amendment by voice vote, meaning that they did not have to go on the record individually supporting birth control for horses.