Largest Title X Increase in 35 Years Will Promote Preventive Health Care
Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) praised Congress for putting women’s health first and passing the largest increase in Title X family planning funding in 35 years. The Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which passed Congress by a wide margin, includes a $310.9 million appropriation for Title X family planning funding. This is $27.8 million more than the FY 2006-2007 funding level, and it is estimated that it will provide services for an additional 139,000 women and will help to avert 24,000 unintended pregnancies and 10,000 abortions.
The Title X family planning program provides funding for family planning services for millions of low-income patients, in areas such as contraceptive services; breast and cervical cancer screening; sexually transmitted infection and HIV prevention, testing and education; and related counseling services.
“Planned Parenthood applauds Congress for putting women's health first with this historic increase in family planning funds,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “Increasing funding for Title X has been one of Planned Parenthood’s top priorities under our Prevention First agenda. Planned Parenthood worked with pro-family planning champions in Congress to secure this additional funding, and we are pleased that it passed. Every dollar invested in family planning and preventive care helps women and couples prevent unintended pregnancy and plan strong, healthy families.”
Title X family planning programs have been key in helping millions of American women prevent unintended pregnancies and obtain reproductive health care for more than 30 years. Research has found that each public dollar spent to provide family planning services saves an estimated $3.00 that would otherwise be spent in Medicaid costs for pregnancy-related care and medical care for newborns. [Forrest, Jacqueline & Renée Samara. (1996). "Impact of Publicly Funded Contraceptive Services on Unintended Pregnancies and Implications for Medicaid Expenditures." Family Planning Perspectives, 28(4), 188-95.]
A study in the American Journal of Public Health measured the cost of contraceptive methods compared to the cost of unintended pregnancies when no contraception was used, and found the total savings to the health care system to fall between $9,000 and $14,000 per woman over five years of contraceptive use. [Trussell, James, et al. (1995). "The Economic Value of Contraception: A Comparison of 15 Methods." American Journal of Public Health, 85, 494-503.]
According to the Office of Family Planning in the Department of Health and Human Services, Title X family planning funds provide services to approximately five million individuals through a network of more than 4,400 community based clinics, including safety-net providers like Planned Parenthood.
“The best way to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions, and promote healthy families is to invest in family planning programs like Title X, and ensure more women and families have access to reproductive health care,” said Richards.
While the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill is good news for Title X funding, it is bad news for medically accurate comprehensive sex education that helps teens make responsible decisions about their health. The appropriations bill includes a $141 million appropriation for the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program. This is a $28 million increase in funding, despite the fact that several recent studies show that abstinence-only programs teach medically inaccurate and misleading information and do not work.
The CBAE funding presents an obvious opportunity for President Bush to address his concerns over increased spending levels, while also eliminating funding for abstinence-only programs. A Statement of Administration Policy, released by the White House, acknowledges that the president is not supportive of programs that “are not producing results.” Eliminating funding for CBAE would certainly fit that criterion.
Federal funding should be directed toward comprehensive sex education programs that will keep teens healthy — by including information about abstinence as well as contraception, healthy communication, responsible decision making, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
Planned Parenthood urges President Bush to support the historic increase in Title X family planning funding by signing the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, and to eliminate funding for ineffective and medically inaccurate abstinence-only programs.
May 13, 2014