Congress Moves to End Nation's Family Planning Program; Could Leave Nearly 4.6 Million People Without Care
For Immediate Release: June 16, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC -- The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies today issued a 2016 fiscal year funding proposal that would eliminate the Title X Family Planning program, cutting health care — including family planning services, well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections — that nearly 4.6 million people, including approximately 1.5 million Planned Parenthood patients, currently rely on. The funding bill would also eliminate nearly all federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention and sex education programs.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“This is politics at its worst. Cutting the Title X Family Planning program could leave nearly 4.6 million people without care, including women in rural communities and low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood and other providers for high-quality, affordable care. Eliminating this program means these women could no longer have access to family planning services, well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections. Simply put, this bill would take away health care from nearly 4.6 million people in this country.
“It is also outrageous that Congress would gut the nation’s teen pregnancy prevention and sex education programs, just as we’re making historic progress in reducing teen pregnancy.
“Americans want their elected leaders fixing the economy and creating jobs, not taking health care away from women. If Republican leaders in Congress think they can take away millions of women’s access to health care and shut down programs that are reducing teen pregnancy without one hell of a fight, they have another thing coming.”
When Governor Perry enacted similar massive funding cuts in Texas, women were left without access to preventive health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings, affordable birth control, and well-woman visits. More than 70 women’s health centers across Texas were forced to shut their doors, and 54 percent fewer patients were able to receive care through family planning programs. In the words of Diane Dunn, a Planned Parenthood patient from Waco, Texas: “Planned Parenthood helped me when I could not get in anywhere else for care — no one else would help me. I’m now cancer-free. I don’t know where I would be without Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood’s doctors and nurses provide high-quality, affordable health care to 2.7 million people a year. The effort to eliminate the Title X Family Planning program would shatter the country’s public health safety net and jeopardize women’s health.
- These cuts would impact approximately 1.5 million Planned Parenthood patients who benefit from the Title X Family Planning program, 78 percent of whom live with incomes of 150 percent of the federal poverty level or less, the equivalent of $35,775 a year for a family of four in 2014. Approximately 20 percent of these patients identify as Latino/a; and approximately 15 percent identify as African American.
- Eighty-one percent of American voters favor continuing federal government efforts to help women who can’t afford it get access to birth control.
- Investments in women's health services are not only providing women with more control over their health and their own family planning; they are also a great deal for taxpayers. According to research released by the Guttmacher Institute, for every $1 we invest in publicly funded family planning services, we save $7 in the long run.
This morning, Planned Parenthood Action Fund released a statement urging Congress to protect and build upon investments in women’s health rather than use the appropriations process to further restrict women’s access to health care. In recent years, appropriations bills have included unrelated and harmful policy riders that undermine women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care — including access to birth control and safe and legal abortion.