There is another important impact of the shutdown of the federal government, in addition to the growing number of stories being reported about people being impacted by the loss of government services.  It is the enormous amount of money that is being wasted.  Money that could be spent on helping people – including women and their families – is being thrown away due to this unnecessary political play.

The National Priorities Project reports that shutting down the government costs about $6.7 million per hour.

How does this compare to the annual budgets for programs that are vital to women and families? Let’s look at some programs in the critical areas of child care, women’s health and violence against women:

Child Care:

Child care is a basic that helps families get ahead by giving parents the support and peace of mind they need to be productive at work and children the boost they need to succeed in school. 

Women’s Health:

Three critical women’s health programs that could have been funded for years with the money thrown away by this shutdown include:

  • A year of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant costs the same as 4 days of the shutdown.  Annually, this program serves over 44 million individuals, including 2.4 million pregnant women, 4.3 million infants, 30.8 million children, and 2.3 million children with special health care needs.
  • A year of the Title X family planning program, which provides basic health services to over 5 million men and women each year, costs the same as 2 days of the shutdown. In fact, every dollar spent to provide services in the nationwide network of publicly funded family planning clinics saves nearly $5.68 in public health costs.
  • The CDC’s breast and cervical cancer screening program costs the same annually as 32 hours of the shutdown. Since 1991, this program has served more than 4.4 million women, provided more than 11 million breast and cervical cancer screening examinations, and diagnosed more than 59,457 breast cancers, 3,367 invasive cervical cancers, and 158,722 premalignant cervical lesions, of which 40% were high-grade.

Violence Against Women:

Although crimes of domestic and sexual violence are highly underreported, studies have found that approximately one in four women have been the victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, and nearly one in five women have been raped in their lifetimes.

The shutdown is hurting low-income families – and it is costing our country valuable resources that could be used to help fund programs vital to women and families. It’s time to stop the shutdown, no strings attached.

Other program comparisons:

Published On: October 16, 2013Associated Issues: Federal Budget
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