Shaheen joins call for strong family planning funding as states criminalize abortion
July 14, 2022
(Washington, DC) – US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined US Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with 14 of their fellow Senate Democrats. , calling on Senate and House Democratic leaders to support strong funding for the Title X family planning program — which provides essential birth control and health services to patients on the tightest budgets — after the cancellation of the conservative majority of the Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade.
Funding for the program will be especially critical now that 19 states have imposed or will soon impose harsh bans or restrictions on access to abortion care in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, and several more states are expected to follow.
“As states move to outright ban or severely restrict abortion services, funding contraceptive and family planning services from trusted providers is more critical than ever,” the senators wrote. “While no amount of funding for contraception will ever prevent the need for abortion services, we know that people across the country will turn to family planning providers for more accessible contraceptive options in the wake of this decision.”
In addition to Senators Shaheen, Feinstein, Murray and Warren, the letter was signed by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth ( D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
The full text of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Chairman Pelosi:
We are writing to urge you to include strong support for the Title X family planning program in any mandatory or discretionary fundraising packages you bring to the House and Senate in the months ahead. On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of precedent by overturning Roe v. Wade, taking away a fundamental constitutional right of half of Americans. As states decide to ban abortion services outright or severely restrict such services, funding for contraceptive and family planning services offered by trusted providers is more crucial than ever. While no amount of funding for contraception will ever prevent the need for abortion services, we know that people across the country will turn to family planning providers for more accessible contraceptive options as a result of this decision.
Title X is the only federal program dedicated to providing family planning services to low-income people. In 2018, before the Trump administration’s devastating new program rules were implemented, nearly 4,000 network health centers served nearly 4 million patients. Title X-funded health centers are lifelines in their communities, providing high-quality family planning and sexual health care, including cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive services and supplies, pregnancy tests and other essential health care services. These centers provide care to populations that often face severe structural barriers to accessing quality health care, such as people with low incomes, people without or with insufficient insurance, people of color, rural communities and LGBTQ people. These are precisely the populations most likely to be denied access to abortion care in a post-Roe America.
Following the passage of an SB 8, a 2021 Texas law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat, HHS provided emergency funding to Every Body Texas, the recipient of Title X Scale government, recognizing that family planning resources would be stretched as access to abortion was restricted. The agency also awarded $10 million in grants to expand access to emergency contraception to any Title X applicant who could demonstrate an influx of demand due to Texas law. Additionally, in January of this year, HHS awarded more than $6 million through this program to address increased needs for family planning services in places where restrictive laws have impacted access. to reproductive health services.
Unfortunately, Title X lacks sufficient funds to meet the growing need for family planning care in light of the national emergency we currently face, especially since Republicans blocked any increase in the program in the last appropriation package for fiscal year 2022. Over eight years, Title X appropriations have been funded at $286 million, well below the $737 million that researchers determined was needed to meet care needs planning services in 2016. Moving Title X emergency funding into an upcoming legislative package provides Congress the opportunity to immediately provide additional funding directly to these Title X providers, even as demand increases, while the FY23 appropriation cycle is a critical way to set a new floor for Title X funding. Nothing will be needed in states across the country, regardless of their abortion laws; states where access to care is non-existent or very restricted are experiencing an increase in demand for contraception, while reproductive and sexual health centers in safe haven states are already under pressure in the face of a wave of patients from other regions, many of whom may also wish to access contraceptive care.
Democrats previously acknowledged the importance of supporting Title X providers in the U.S. bailout, which provided $50 million in emergency funding to help health centers recover from the effects of the pandemic. The inclusion of emergency funding in any must-have legislative package will demonstrate to the American public that Democrats in the House and Senate stand up for reproductive rights and freedoms at every level, in every state in the US. Union.
We urge you once again to include the maximum funding possible for the Title X program.