BOSTON – Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts condemned President Donald Trump’s signing of a measure designed to undermine women’s health and overturn a rule that reinforced protections for the more than 4 million people who rely on Title X, the nation’s family planning program, for their health care. Each year, 67,293 people in Massachusetts rely on the program for birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other preventive care.
The bill signed by President Trump today does not “defund” Planned Parenthood. That is a separate issue. However, this latest move could embolden states to try to block access to health care through Title X, both at Planned Parenthood health centers and independent clinics. These types of actions are already illegal, as a court in Florida found just this past summer.
Statement from Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts:
“People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and this bill is just the latest example. Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being. We should build on the tremendous progress made in this country with expanded access to birth control, instead of enacting policies that take us backwards. Too many women still face barriers to health care, especially young women, women of color, those who live in rural areas, and women with low incomes.
“Women marched in historic numbers the day after the inauguration because they feared the worst. Their worst fears are now coming true. We are facing the worst political attack on women’s health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women’s health and rights at every turn. That’s why women are the core of the resistance and have been organizing and speaking out since the day after the election. They know speaking up and speaking out can change the direction of this government.”
In less than three months, the Trump administration and anti-women’s health Members of Congress have taken unprecedented steps to rip away women’s access to health care:
- Trump reinstated and expanded the harmful global gag rule, meaning a wide range of health organizations combating HIV or the spread of Zika will be banned from all U.S. global health funding if they also happen to provide counseling, referrals, or services for safe and legal abortion.
- The House considered a bill to repeal the ACA that was the worst piece of legislation for women in a generation, prohibiting women from getting care at Planned Parenthood through the Medicaid program, kicking millions off insurance, ending maternity coverage for millions of women, and imposing a ban on insurance coverage for abortion.
- Extremists in Congress attempted to revive the failed ACA repeal bill by trading away women’s health and proposing to gut the Essential Health Benefits provision, which would roll back maternity care, raise insurance rates for women and reduce access to birth control and other reproductive health care.
- President Trump jammed through an extreme and anti-women’s health nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court, endangering women’s access to abortion and birth control in the years to come.
- The Trump administration quietly eliminated U.S. funding for UNFPA, an organization whose mission is to champion maternal and child health across the globe.
Background on Title X:
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.
- 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.