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WASHINGTON – Today, health care advocates and supporters delivered more than 135,000 public comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in support of protecting basic health care for more than 4 million people. The comments came in support of a proposed rule by President Obama to strengthen the Title X family planning program against political attacks. Supporters of a wide coalition of organizations weighed in, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights, CREDO, the National Partnership for Women and Families, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE) and UltraViolet.

 

On October 11th, advocates deliver more than 135,000 comments to HHS in support of the administration's Title X Rule. (Photo Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Federation of America)

 

The proposed rule reinforces that politically motivated efforts to block women from accessing care at Planned Parenthood and other providers violate federal law. The rule would ensure those most in need – those who have 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.

 

Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“More than a hundred thousand  people have said it loud and clear: Every person deserves access to quality, affordable health care from a provider they know and trust. This is a commonsense move to protect basic access to essential care, and these comments are confirmation that the American public strongly supports keeping politics out of the doctor’s office. Women in nearly half the states in this country have faced political attacks on cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic care. Together we are making it clear that politicians cannot ignore the law and stop women from getting the care they need.”  

On October 11th, advocates deliver more than 135,000 comments to HHS in support of the administration's Title X Rule. (Photo Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Federation of America)

 

The Obama Administration’s action comes at a time when reproductive health care is increasingly under attack across the United States. In the last year alone, politicians in 24 states have tried to block women from cancer screenings, STI tests, birth control and other care at Planned Parenthood and other quality family planning providers. Shockingly, some of these states have argued women can instead receive this care from dentists, optometrists, nursing homes, and other inappropriate places for reproductive health care.

 

The proposed rule would reinforce existing protections in the Title X family planning program that prohibit states from excluding Planned Parenthood and other women's health providers for reasons unrelated to their ability to provide critical Title X services effectively. The Obama Administration’s proposed rule makes it clear that it is against the law for states to prevent low-income women from accessing preventive health care through the Title X program at Planned Parenthood or other women’s health centers on the basis that they also provide abortion.

 

Planned Parenthood health centers care for approximately 1.5 million patients through Title X – roughly one third of the more than 4 million people served by the program. Six in 10 women who access care from a family planning health center consider it their main source of health care. For many patients across the country, Planned Parenthood health centers are the only places they can turn to for reproductive health care.

 

People with low incomes and communities of color are two groups that have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality health care, and who will benefit most from these protections. The idea that other providers could just absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly dismissed by experts – in fact the American Public Health Association called the idea “ludicrous.” A recent study in theNew England Journal of Medicine showed that blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood in Texas was associated with a 35% decline in women in publicly funded programs using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% increase in births among women who had previously accessed injectable contraception through those programs. More than half of Planned Parenthood's health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas, meaning that often without Planned Parenthood, patients would have nowhere else to turn for reproductive health care.

 

Background on Title X:

 

Simply put, Title X helps ensure more than 4 million people have health care in this country — including the approximately 1.5 million women, men, and young people who depend on Planned Parenthood health centers for basic health care through the nation’s family planning program.

 

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 these services.

 
  • 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 every state, women and men rely on the nation’s family planning program for basic primary and preventive health care, including well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
 
  • 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).
 
  • 1.5 million Planned Parenthood patients benefit from the nation’s family planning program, 75 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 15 percent identify as African American.
 

Planned Parenthood health centers play a critical role in caring for patients through Title X:

 
  • Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive care to approximately 1.5 million women served by the nation’s family planning program. We serve roughly one-third of the program’s clients overall, although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10 percent of publicly supported safety net family planning centers.
 
  • Planned Parenthood health centers are located in the communities where access to care is most needed. More than half of Planned Parenthood's health centers across the U.S. are in rural or medically underserved areas.
 
  • Planned Parenthood health centers are also considerably more likely to offer Title X patients a broad range of contraceptive methods than other types of publicly supported family planning centers.
 

Blocking care at Planned Parenthood has devastating consequences for the people we serve:

 
  • In Wisconsin and Texas, researchers found that fewer women could access lifesaving cancer screenings following the closure of Planned Parenthood health centers. An increase in 100 miles from the nearest health center resulted in a 6 percent decrease in the rate women obtained breast exams, and 9 percent decrease in pap tests.
 
  • A recent study in theNew England Journal of Medicine showed that blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood in Texas was associated with a 35% decline in women in publicly funded programs using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% increase in births among women who had previously accessed injectable contraception through those programs.
 
  • This often has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care. In Texas, more than half of women reported at least one barrier to reproductive health care. Spanish-speaking women from Mexico were more likely to report three or more barriers to care.
 

The nation’s family planning program works.

 
  • Through birth control and contraceptive counseling, the national family planning program has helped to prevent 1.1 million unintended pregnancies each year.
 
  • In 2015 alone, the national family planning program enabled health centers to provide nearly 800,000 Pap tests, breast exams to 1 million women, nearly 5 million tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and 1 million HIV tests.  
 
  • Without the services provided by the family planning program, the U.S. rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned births, and abortions would be 66 percent higher.
 

Investing in family planning is good for women, and good for the economy.

 
  • Birth control has been nothing short of revolutionary for women and society. Research demonstrates that birth control is one of the most important drivers of women’s economic stability, leading to better health outcomes for women and their children, which benefits our entire workforce in the long run.
 
  • Birth control is popular and common. More than 95% of sexually active women have used some form of birth control in their lives.
 
  • For every public dollar invested in family planning, approximately $7 are saved in Medicaid-related costs. In 2010, the government saved $13.6 billion as a result of family planning services investment.
 

Americans don’t want to see this program eliminated.

 
 
  • When Congress tried to eliminate the nation’s family planning program back in 2011, there was an incredible outpouring from the American public. People don’t want Congress to take health care away from millions of people, or to walk away from the historic progress we’re making in reducing teen pregnancy.

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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 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.

Source

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Contact

Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433

Published

October 11, 2016