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Fiscal year 2018 LHHS and State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bills Pass Committee with Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, Senate Appropriations Committee members passed bills protecting access to basic health care for women and families in the United States and around the world, and blocking many of the dangerous attacks on women’s health programs such as the Title X family planning, teen pregnancy prevention programs, and international family planning programs being waged by the Trump Administration and extremists in the House of Representatives.

Statement of Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

Protecting family planning and evidenced-based sex education is common sense. That is why the LHHS appropriations bill passed with bipartisan support.  While the Trump administration is hell-bent on attacking women’s health and rights at every turn, champions in Congress are doing the work to protect access to the care that Americans rely on. Despite efforts of anti-women's health politicians to cut family planning, the bill passed by the committee today protects Title X — the nation’s only federal program for birth control that 4 million women count on each year  —  and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs that provides young people the tools to plan for their futures. The bill safeguards the programs to ensure that people’s access to these essential programs remains uninterrupted. We applaud the work led by Senator Murray to protect access to essential family planning programs that have contributed to historic lows in the rates of unintended pregnancy and teen pregnancy in the United States. We should build on, not undo, the progress we have made as a country.

“Meanwhile, the State and Foreign Operations bill was approved with a bipartisan amendment to restore funding for international family planning, including UNFPA, and end the dangerous global gag rule that was expanded by the Trump administration. We applaud Senator Shaheen for leading the charge to restore these crucial U.S. investments in family planning and women’s access to healthcare, and are grateful to Senators Collins and Murkowski for supporting the amendment. These measures will save women’s lives.

In July, the Trump administration abruptly cut grant funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and shortened the grant periods for Title X family planning programs, creating uncertainty that can impact the effectiveness and viability of sex education and reproductive health care programs that people depend on. ​The version of the Labor-HHS legislation being considered in the House this week includes language that completely eliminates the nation’s family planning program for fiscal year 2018.​

In January, Trump reinstated  an unprecedented expansion of the global gag rule, which bars  international organizations that work on any U.S. funded global health program, including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, and malaria programs, from providing abortion services, referral or counseling or advocating for abortion access. This policy, combined with Trump’s proposal to eliminate all funding for international family planning programs and UNFPA, leaves the the world’s most vulnerable women to suffer and undermines years of efforts to improve women’s health worldwide.

These attacks hurt marginalized communities domestically and abroad — people of color, those who live in rural areas, those struggling to make ends meet in the U.S. and women and girls living in poverty in developing countries  — the most.  

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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.