WASHINGTON, DC — In a statement released today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund urged Congress to protect and build upon investments in women’s health, not 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.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Around the globe, there’s a growing consensus that women’s advancement is key to peace, political stability, and economic growth — and that access to reproductive health care is key to women’s advancement. Unfortunately, Congress seems to have missed the memo.
“By cutting critical programs, such as the Title X Family Planning program, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program, and international family planning and reproductive health programs — or worse, by using the appropriations process to inappropriately introduce new restrictions on women’s health care services like birth control or abortion — Congress is holding women, and our country, back.
“At Planned Parenthood, we believe all women — no matter where they live or how much money they make — deserve a fair shot and a chance to pursue their dreams. That’s why we’re drawing a line — Congress must protect federal investments in women's health, and continue to fund key programs.”
This week Congress can move forward on women’s health in the following ways:
- Protect and expand access to publicly funded family planning services in the U.S. and around the world. They save lives, they save money. This is the single best way to support women who can go to school and support their families. According to research released by the Guttmacher Institute, for every public dollar invested in U.S. family planning programs, taxpayers save approximately $7.
- Support medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education for every young person in this country. Even with teen pregnancy at historic lows, there were about 615,000 last year, it still costs the U.S. $9.4 billion each year — more importantly, it costs these women opportunities and their futures.
- Protect funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is the greatest advancement in women’s health in a generation and in the first year, women saved $483 million on birth control, which is now covered without a copay. We need to keep moving in that direction.
- Support efforts to strengthen and protect Medicaid — so women and families who most need affordable health care can get it. Across all ages, females comprise the majority of Medicaid enrollees. In 2013, Medicaid provided coverage to more than 12.5 million women ages 19-64. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of adult women enrolled in Medicaid are of reproductive age (18-44). Nationally, about 1 in 10 women (9 percent) rely on Medicaid coverage to access critical preventive and primary health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and prenatal care.
- Permanently repeal the global gag rule, a harmful policy that prevents women abroad from accessing critical health care. When in place, the gag rule interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, limits free speech, and impedes women’s access to health services. Congress can pass the bipartisan, Global Democracy Promotion Act and end this destructive policy once and for all.