NPR has a great story up that explains the social and historical context of funding—or de-funding, as the case may be—Planned Parenthood, which has relied on federal money to provide subsidized contraceptives, cancer screenings, STI tests, and family planning services to millions of low-income women and men for the last 40 years.
"This is not about the federal budget — the money involved is a pittance," says Gene Burns, a Michigan State University professor and expert on the intersection of the politics of religion and sexuality.
In the 1970s, liberals and conservatives had different but overlapping reasons for supporting Title X, he says. Liberals saw the availability of contraception as helping families have control over their lives. And conservatives, while agreeing to a point, also saw the effort as crucial to helping keep poor people off welfare.
But the developing politics of unmarried parenthood and the maturation of the Christian right as an organized force have changed the conversation in many ways to one of values instead of economics, Burns says.
The entire thing is worth a read if you weren't having sex in the 70's (or, uh, weren't even born yet). Conservatives have made de-funding Planned Parenthood one of their top legislative priorities, which means even if it doesn't happen this year, this fight isn't going away any time soon.