Contact: Lucy Leriche, Vice President of Vermont Public Policy
Eileen Sullivan, Communications Director
Colchester, VT – On Wednesday, three Planned Parenthood affiliates filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, D.C. against the Trump-Pence administration to fight for the four million people who depend on Title X, the nation’s only program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care.
Title X, in place since 1970, is 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. 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.
Changes to the Title X program would be one of the most large-scale and dangerous attacks on women’s rights and reproductive health in this country. Nationally, Planned Parenthood health centers serve 41 percent of the patients who get care through Title X – yet the Trump-Pence administration’s efforts are designed to block those patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers. This would mean many are left with nowhere else to turn. The administrations also wants to “gag” any Title X provider, including hospitals, from sharing information about or even mentioning the word abortion.
In Vermont, Title X makes a significant difference in health outcomes, serving 7,800 women annually. Without Title X-funded family planning services in Vermont, unintended adolescent pregnancies would be 139% higher, and unintended pregnancy and abortion would be 127% higher*. (*Source: Guttmacher Institute).
Statement by Meagan Gallagher, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England: “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. We cannot risk undoing that progress. Taking away access to the full range of birth control options is a significant and dangerous shift in Title X policy. We are going to fight for our patients’ health and rights to control their own bodies and future, and to get the care they need.”
Since taking office, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have pushed policies to take away basic rights and health care. 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 repeatedly to block women from getting care at Planned Parenthood.
In 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 either birth control or reproductive health care and instead pushes patients toward abstinence and tries to keep patients from coming to Planned Parenthood. Not only is this illegal, but it could have devastating consequences and threaten health care for millions.
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.
About Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE): PPNNE is the largest reproductive and sexual health care provider in northern New England. In 2016, PPNNE served more than 40,000 women, men, and teens, and provided more than $8.1 million worth of free and discounted health care. www.ppnne.org
About Planned Parenthood of Vermont Action Fund: Planned Parenthood of Vermont Action Fund (PPVTAF) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The Action Fund engages in educational activity, including legislative advocacy, and grassroots organizing.