The American Rescue Plan Act Includes Important Strides for Health Equity, Access & Sexual and Reproductive Health
For Immediate Release: Feb. 27, 2021
Legislation includes critical funding for Title X, global health programs, and more
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan Act, much needed COVID-19 relief legislation to continue addressing the health care and economic crises caused by the pandemic — including support for sexual and reproductive health care. Access to sexual and reproductive health care is inextricably tied to health and safety during the pandemic.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“We applaud the House for passing this critical legislation to provide relief for people in this country and around the world suffering from the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic and resulting economic crisis have especially hurt Black people, Latinos, and people with low incomes — all of whom already faced systemic barriers to care. The House majority understands that getting COVID-19 relief to the people who need it is the number one priority facing the nation. And they rejected the minority’s multiple efforts, in committee, to enact ideologically-driven amendments restricting access to sexual and reproductive health during a pandemic. We look forward to working with Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to pass this comprehensive COVID-19 relief, so desperately needed by people in the U.S. and around the world."
The American Rescue Plan Act, which will now move to the Senate for consideration, contains many important provisions, including critical funding for the Title X family planning program. Title X is the nation’s only federal program dedicated to providing affordable birth control and other reproductive health care to people with low incomes. It disproportionately serves Black and Latino patients — the same communities hit hardest by the pandemic. In spring 2020, 33% of women faced delays or were unable to get contraception or other care because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with women of color and women with low incomes more likely to report problems accessing this care than white or higher-income women. This funding is another crucial step toward helping those most harmed by the pandemic get the care they need to stay healthy and to build their own futures — during this pandemic and beyond.
The bill takes critical steps to put health coverage within reach for millions, by reducing monthly health coverage premiums for individuals and families with low and middle incomes and expanding eligibility for premium assistance. The bill also includes increased funding and support for COVID-19 testing, tracing, and treatment; investments in vaccine distribution and confidence; incentives for the remaining states to expand Medicaid; the option for states to expand Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum; funding for states to vaccinate all Medicaid enrollees by fully reimbursing both the cost and the administration of COVID-19 vaccines; funding for states to reopen schools safely; support for state and local governments; $1,400 direct stimulus checks for individuals, along with extended unemployment insurance; and support for global health and humanitarian efforts around the world.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.