You may have seen that on Thursday Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to repeal an Obama-era protection for the Title X family planning program. What exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.
This bill DOES NOT “defund” Planned Parenthood. Rather it could embolden state politicians to block patients with low incomes who rely on Title X from getting care from reproductive health care providers, including Planned Parenthood, just because they provide safe, legal abortion.
This bill DOES overturn an Obama administration rule. In December, the Obama administration issued a rule that simply clarified and reinforced existing law around Title X.
It is already against federal law to prevent health care providers from participating in Title X because they also provide abortion. A Florida court confirmed this last summer. The Obama rule simply clarified existing law.
What’s Next: The resolution has been passed by both the House and Senate, and it now heads to President Trump's desk. His signature is sure to embolden states to try to block people’s access to care at health centers just because they provide safe, legal abortion.
But the bottom line is this: Even if President Trump signs it, Planned Parenthood isn’t “defunded,” and it will still see patients and keep providing the essential health care that 2.5 million people rely on each year.
Here’s more than you need to know about Title X and the Obama rule:
How People Use the Title X Family Planning Program
It should come as no surprise that if you’re low income or don’t have health insurance, getting access to basic health services can be difficult. Luckily, the Title X family planning program has helped relieve some of that burden.
Since 1970, the Title X Family Planning Program has helped millions of people with low incomes afford much-needed health care, like birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings. But each year, backward politicians threaten to cut funding for this critical health care safety net.
More than 4 million Americans rely on affordable family planning services that are funded by Title X.
These are basic primary and preventive health care services people like:
Cervical and breast cancer screenings
- Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, including testing for HIV
Obama Administration’s Rule
Last fall, the Obama Administration proposed a rule reinforcing that it is against the law for state politicians to block people from accessing care at a health center of their choice because it also provides safe, legal abortion.
What’s important for you to know is that this rule was a layer of protection but not the only thing protecting care at Planned Parenthood health centers. It is already against federal law to prevent Planned Parenthood or other health care providers from participating in Title X simply because they also provide abortion. A Florida court confirmed this last summer.
Read about the Title X rule and more in Vox’s “The bill making it easier for states to defund Planned Parenthood, explained.”
It’s clear these attacks on women’s health care are just the beginning. To find out how you can fight backs against these attacks on health care, check out our action page.