Talk about misplaced priorities: In the midst of the Zika Crisis, Republican leadership in a House committee passed a budget bill that eliminates federal funding for the nation's decades-old family planning program. This bill turns a blind eye to the country's outsized need for family planning resources and to the looming and near-immediate threat of the Zika virus. Just a week ago, Republican leaders tanked a Zika emergency funding bill that would have helped get family planning services to areas most impacted by Zika, such as Puerto Rico.

This shameful budget bill exposes the Republican leadership’s agenda against family planning providers like Planned Parenthood. That's despite family planning providers' absolutely critical role in limiting the damaging effects of Zika virus and helping those most in need access reproductive health services.

Women's health champions pushed back on proposed cuts to women's health programs, offering amendments to restore funding for these critical programs and strike harmful policy riders from the bill.

What This Budget Bill Would Do

The bill would do three terrible things:

  • Prohibit funding for Title X, the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services

  • Eliminate the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

  • Propose wasting millions in taxpayer dollars by funding ineffective abstinence-only programs  

“Paul Ryan’s warped idea of ‘a better way’ is to zero out family planning dollars – the very resources that ​4 million women and men currently rely on and are the very services even more in demand with the looming public health crisis with Zika.”  

 

—Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Passing this bill was no accident. The FY 17 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee specifically passed a funding bill that zeros out Title X. What's more, the bill includes a harmful policy rider that would interfere with access to safe, legal abortion. This rider would allow employers and health insurance companies to refuse to provide coverage of any health care service — such as abortion — on the basis of religious or moral convictions. That means hospitals, health insurance plans, health care providers, and non-medical personnel could refuse to provide, pay for, or even refer for an abortion — even when the abortion is medically necessary to save a woman’s life or health.

Why Congress Must Protect Title X Funding

Title X, the nation’s family planning program, serves a lot of people in need: roughly 4.1 million individuals every year at more than 4,100 health centers. Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive care to approximately 1.5 million of these individuals through the Title X family planning program — roughly a third of the people served by the program.

What does Title X do? In every state, women and men rely on Title X for basic primary and preventive health care, including well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Title X provides lifesaving, cost-effective care:

  • In 2014 alone, Title X health centers provided more than 800,000 Pap tests, breast exams to 1.3 million women, and more than 5.8 million tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including 1 million HIV tests.

  • The Title X program also provides millions of people with access to birth control, helping to prevent one million unintended pregnancies each year. Access to birth control and family planning is one of the biggest drivers of women’s economic gains  leading to more education and higher wages.

  • The Title X program offers preventive health care services to those most in need. Nearly ninety percent of Title X clients have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and 54 percent are uninsured.

  • The Title X program disproportionately serves people of color, providing critical health care services to populations that face significant reproductive health disparities. Twenty-one percent of Title X patients identify as black or African American and 30 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.

The results? For every public dollar invested in family planning, $7.09 is saved in Medicaid-related costs. That’s savings to both federal and state governments and taxpayers. It's no wonder that 77 percent of American voters support continuing the efforts of the Title X family planning program.

But remember: While millions of women and men around the country rely on the nation’s family planning program for access to essential care like birth control and cancer screenings​, the basic need is much greater​. 

“Planned Parenthood ​and other family planning providers ​​cannot meet the needs of millions of people without additional funding for basic, preventive health care, and we can’t expect our young people to stay safe and healthy without giving them the education and resources to do so. Politicians who want to eliminate these vital​ services​ are working against a solution, and are part of the problem.”

 

—Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Why Congress Must Protect Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Yesterday's bill would slash evidence-based sex education, choosing instead to waste taxpayer dollars on harmful abstinence-only programs​​. In particular, the bill would decimate the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), which has a proven track record of helping young people make responsible decisions to keep them safe and healthy. TPPP and other evidence-based interventions enjoy vast public support because of their crucial role in providing the information and education that young people need to grow into healthy adults. But instead of investing in sex education that actually works, the bill misguidedly doubles down on abstinence-only grants — which are harmful and ineffective.

TPPP funds effective evidence-based programs for youth that have been proven to reduce sexual risk behaviors, thus contributing to reductions in unintended teen pregnancy. TPPP gives you the knowledge and skills they need to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and to develop healthy relationships.

  • Teen pregnancy accounts for $9.4 billion a year in costs to U.S. taxpayers. TPPP is a cost effective way to fund sex education programs for youth that have been proven to reduce sexual risk behaviors, thus contributing to reductions in teen pregnancy.

  • TPPP is administered through the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and funds the replication of evidence-based programs that reduce teen pregnancy and associated risk behaviors, and the rigorous evaluation of new or innovative teen pregnancy prevention programs.

  • Evidence-based sex education programs — like the Get Real program — can help teens delay sex, use condoms and birth control when they do have sex, reduce the number of sexual partners, and reduce the frequency of sex.

  • Planned Parenthood’s sex education programs are in line with evidence-based approaches that have been proven to impact young people’s behavior. Thanks to the support of TPPP, Planned Parenthood has been able to expand efforts to replicate evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs since 2010.

What's the best thing you can do right now?

Text "VOTE 2016" to 69866 to join the Planned Parenthood Action Mobile Network for updates on the election and important to reproductive rights issues! (You can text STOP to quit anytime. Data and standard message rates apply.) 


Related Content

Tags: Family planning, Budget, Congress, Teen Pregnancy, Zika, Title X

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