GOP Senate Leaders Refuse to Even Debate Anti-Women’s Health Measure
This comes less than a week after GOP tried to strip maternity care in order to pass the ACA Repeal
Washington, D.C. – The Senate narrowly approved a measure that would overturn a rule that protects health care for more than 4 million people who rely on Title X, the nation’s family planning program. In a gross display of their disregard for women’s health, GOP Senate leaders refused to even explain their support for the bill on the Senate floor, despite repeated demands from leaders like Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) resorted to bringing Vice President Mike Pence to cast the deciding vote.
To be clear, this bill does not “defund” Planned Parenthood. However, this move could embolden states to block access to family planning health care providers across the board, both Planned Parenthood health centers and independent clinics.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“A group of male politicians -- led by Mike Pence -- are once again trying to rip away women’s access to birth control. There’s a reason this measure barely passed: people are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and they will not stand for it. It’s clear politicians in Congress will stop at nothing to claw back women’s health and rights -- and we’ll need to fight back with everything we’ve got.
“Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and this move by Washington politicians would endanger their health and well being. It is appalling that 24 hours ago, Vice President Pence was headlining a forum on empowering women, and today, he is leading mostly male politicians to take away women’s birth control. Too many people still face barriers to health care, especially young people, people of color, those who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes. We will never stop fighting for the right of every person to access the care they need.
“We call on President Trump to stand by his word, and not undermine access to birth control for women with low incomes.”
The current rule reinforces that it is against the law for state politicians to block people from accessing care at a health center of their choice because it also provides safe, legal abortion. These types of actions are already illegal, as a court in Florida found just this past summer. To date, every court to consider the issue on the merits has ruled that state politicians cannot block access to care at Planned Parenthood through the Title X family planning program.
When it was introduced by the Obama Administration last year, the rule garnered widespread support in the call for public comment, with 91 percent of the roughly 145,000 responses in favor of the rule.
Title X, the nation’s family planning program, helps ensure that every person, regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or whether or not they have health insurance, has access to basic, preventive reproductive health care. The rule ensures those most in need – those who have very low incomes or lack health insurance – still have access to lifesaving care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams.
People with low incomes and communities of color are two groups that have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality health care, are less likely to have health insurance, and who benefit most from these protections. In 2014,14 percent of Planned Parenthood patients were Black, more than 360,000 people, and 23 percent of Planned Parenthood patients were Latinos, more than 575,000 people. Seventy-five percent of Planned Parenthood patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL).
Background on Title X:
Simply put, Title X helps ensure more than 4 million people have health care in this country. The nation’s family planning program offers preventive health care services to those most in need. This is the only way that millions of women who have low incomes or are uninsured have access to birth control, cancer screenings, STI tests, and other basic care.
- Eighty-five percent of the people served by our nation’s family planning program have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and 48 percent are uninsured.
- In 2015 alone, Title X provided nearly 800,000 Pap tests, breast exams to 1 million women, nearly 5 million tests for STIs, and 1 million HIV tests.
- In fact, 6 in 10 women who access care from a family planning health center consider it their main source of health care. For 4 in 10, it’s their only source of care (source:Guttmacher).
- Approximately 1.5 million Planned Parenthood patients benefit from the nation’s family planning program, 78 percent of whom live with incomes of 150 percent of the federal poverty level or less, the equivalent of $35,775 a year for a family of four in 2014. Approximately 20 percent of these patients identify as Latino/a; and approximately 14 percent identify as Black.
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 over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations 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.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
March 30, 2017