WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 23, 2018 – Today, the Trump-Pence administration took aim at the Title X program — the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care that more than four million people rely on each year. They issued a new call for funding applications that radically shifts the program’s priorities:
- First, the announcement is designed to penalize reproductive health care providers and make it harder for women to access expert reproductive health care under the program. The announcement does this by attempting to:
- Block women from going to expert reproductive health care providers, and instead pushing them to go to providers that emphasize abstinence-only and don’t provide the full range of birth control methods, like IUDs or the birth control shot.
- Open the door to anti-abortion counseling centers’ participation in the program.
- Second, the announcement is clearly designed to roll back access to the most effective forms of birth control.
- In a clear shift in priorities, the call for applications removes references to Quality Family Planning recommendations, the national standard of clinical care for family planning services produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Office of Population Affairs.
- The call for applications also removes references to ensuring access to the 18 FDA-approved contraceptive methods. Similarly, consistent with a leaked White House memo that promoted fertility awareness methods under the program, the term “natural family planning” — a reference to fertility awareness methods like the rhythm method or calendar method — appears six times, but the term “Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC),” the most effective methods of birth control that have been growing in popularity, doesn’t appear once.
Quote from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“The Trump-Pence administration is quietly taking aim at access to birth control under the nation’s program for affordable reproductive health care, which more than four million people rely on each year.
“Don’t be fooled — this is a clear attempt to roll back access to the type of birth control that most women want to use. The last thing anyone wants is for Donald Trump or Mike Pence to weigh in on her sex life — but this announcement essentially invites them into the bedroom.
“With this change, the Trump-Pence administration is putting millions of people’s health at risk. It’s actions like this that have led to a historic grassroots movement fighting back all across the country. Planned Parenthood will never stop serving our patients, and we will never stop fighting for birth control for everyone.”
Since taking office, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have pushed policy after policy to take away basic rights and health care. Among other things, they have: issued a rule to allow employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees, ended protections for sexual assault survivors, tried to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, tried to block women from getting care at Planned Parenthood, and appointed officials who don’t believe women should use birth control to oversee our nation’s program dedicated to affordable birth control and reproductive health care.
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The Title X program is the only federal program dedicated to birth control access. Since the program started in 1970, it has garnered broad, bipartisan support year after year. Title X is meant to ensure that every person — regardless of where they live, how much money they make, their background, 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 well-woman exams. Title X is an important safety net for people who would otherwise go without health care. This includes communities of color and people with low incomes, two groups who historically face more barriers to care and are less likely to have health insurance.
Planned Parenthood health centers serve 41 percent of Title X patients. Due to systemic barriers, women of color rely on the Title X program at higher rates than White women. Out of the four million family planning clients who Title X serves, more than half are women of color: 21 percent of all Title X clients identify as Black or African American, and 30 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.
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. Indeed, Title X currently ensures that women can choose from the full range of birth control options — including IUDs, implants, the pill, the patch, the ring, condoms, fertility awareness methods — to find the method that best meets their needs. Taking away access to those methods is a significant and harmful shift in Title X policy.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.www.ppfa.org