CONCORD — Yesterday, three Planned Parenthood affiliates filed suit in federal district court in Washington, D.C. against the Trump-Pence administration to prevent them from radically remaking Title X, the nation’s only program for birth control and reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood is asking the court to declare the changes to the Title X program illegal and prevent the Trump Administration from implementing them so that the Title X program can continue to provide life-saving care as it was intended.
More than four million people rely on Title X, a program meant to ensure that every person — regardless of where they live, how much money they make, what their background is, or whether or not they have health insurance — has access to basic, preventive reproductive health care, such as birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and regular check-ups. As a participant in the Title X program, health care providers commit to providing care to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay.
In New Hampshire, Title X supports a network of reproductive and sexual health care providers throughout the state, including Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. This funding is a lifeline to the roughly 18,000 women, men and young people in New Hampshire who depend on it. The five Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire serve approximately 60 percent of Title X patients in the state, and are among the only places people can come to for specialized care like an IUD or the birth control shot.
“Title X is critical in helping millions of women, men, and young people access essential health care, including birth control, STI testing, and cancer screenings. The Trump-Pence administration is trying to radically alter Title X, which would deprive thousands of women in the Granite State access to basic health care,” said Sabrina Dunlap, Vice President of Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “This administration is going after Planned Parenthood and trying to limit access to care, which would have devastating consequences for our patients. Planned Parenthood and our colleagues in women’s health are going to court to stop the Trump administration from ignoring the law.”
In late February, the Trump-Pence administration began trying to completely remake the Title X program through a call for funding applications, changing the program so that it no longer focuses on birth control or reproductive health care, and instead pushes patients toward abstinence and discourages patients from coming to Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care providers. This is contrary to the fundamental purpose of Title X, which is to increase access to essential reproductive healthcare, regardless of ability to pay.
Title X, established in 1971 under Richard Nixon, is the country’s only initiative dedicated to affordable birth control and reproductive health care. Many of the people who rely on it may not even know it exists, but without it they wouldn’t be able to access this essential care.
The suit was filed by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah in federal district court in Washington, D.C., and alleges that the dramatic changes HHS is making to the Title X program through its funding announcement are illegal because they are contrary to the Title X statute and regulations, which make clear that Title X is meant to provide comprehensive, evidence-based contraception and reproductive health services. The plaintiffs are asking the court to block the illegal funding announcement and continue Title X patients’ current access to care. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from WilmerHale and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Since taking office, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have pushed policy after policy to take away basic rights and health care, including access to birth control. They have:
● Issued a rule to allow employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees
● Ended protections for sexual assault survivors on campus
● Tried to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
● Tried, over and over again, to block women from getting care at Planned Parenthood
This is not the first time the Trump-Pence administration has tried to radically remake a federal program to push abstinence and ideology over the original program goals. Less than two weeks ago, it issued a funding announcement that would radically remake the successful Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) to push ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programming, rather than a wide range of programs that are proven to help young people stay healthy.
Today, the U.S. is at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancies and an all-time low for pregnancies among teenagers. That is due in large part to increased access to highly effective contraceptive methods and sex education. Indeed, Title X ensures that women can choose from the full range of birth control options — including IUDs, implants, the pill, the patch, the ring, condoms, and fertility awareness methods — to find the method that best meets their needs. Taking away access to those methods is a significant and harmful shift in Title X policy.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and teens across the State of New Hampshire. We serve New Hampshire residents through 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. Last year we saw more than 11,000 patients at these sites.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.