Advocates and legislators applaud progress for family planning funding
BOSTON— The Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives voted today to approve a Fiscal Year 2014 budget that includes $4.92 million for family planning, a $320,000 increase from FY13. Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and its legislative allies applauded the additional funding and vowed to continue working to return funding to pre-recession levels.
“Since 2009, family planning funding has been cut 23% in the state budget, making the FY2014 increase of $320,000 an important step in the right direction. We appreciate the state legislature’s increased investment in the family planning program, which allows for greater access to life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, and breast health services,” said Tricia Wajda, Public Affairs Director of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. “With family planning programs under attack at the national level, Massachusetts must maintain and bolster its investment in state-level programs that provide health care for underserved populations. We are grateful for the hard work of women’s health champions on Beacon Hill and look forward to continue working with them to restore funding for the family planning program to its pre-recession level. Until then, many family planning providers will continue to struggle to meet the health care needs of our most at-risk populations.”
Publicly funded family planning centers provide a wide range of basic health care services to more than 300,000 vulnerable low-income, uninsured, and underinsured Massachusetts women and men. Their preventive services include lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. In the absence of state-funded family planning centers, the number of unintended pregnancies in Massachusetts would soar by approximately 25% and the number of abortions would increase by approximately 23%.
“Today is a victory for thousands of women, men, and young people across the state who need affordable access to family planning services to keep themselves and their families healthy,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End), who sponsored an amendment to increase family planning funding in the House budget. “By making a commitment to funding this essential preventive health care, we are empowering the people of Massachusetts to lead healthier lives.”
“I'm happy to see that we were able to raise additional funds to provide these crucial family planning services to the Commonwealth's underserved residents,” said Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich), who sponsored an amendment to increase family planning funding in the Senate budget. “I, along with the twelve cosponsors of my amendment, believe that further support for clinical care, community-based outreach efforts, and aid for young adults and the uninsured will help those in need plan their families with dignity.”
During deliberations in the House, Senate, and Conference Committee, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts encouraged supporters to contact their legislators and advocate for increased family planning funding. With the support of state family planning funding, Planned Parenthood is able to provide income-based preventive health care to uninsured and underinsured women and men at its seven health centers in Massachusetts.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider and advocate in the state, providing sexual and reproductive health care through nearly 50,000 patient visits per year. 90% of PPLM services are preventive, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, sexual health education and information. For 85 years PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.
Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
July 01, 2013