Ends Ineffective Abstinence-Only Programs, Provides New Funding for Evidence-Based Comprehensive Sex Education —
Missed Opportunities to Strengthen Title X And Ensure Women’s Access to Full Range of Care
“As our nation works to strengthen women’s health care, there is both good and bad news in this budget. While the budget is a step in the right direction toward reducing alarmingly high unintended pregnancy rates and helping ensure that young people have the information and health care they need to become healthy and productive adults, it misses an opportunity to build on one of the nation’s most effective programs in reducing unintended pregnancies,” said Lillian A. Tamayo, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast (PPSFTC).
Notable items in the Obama FY2010 Budget include:
—Ends funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs (CBAE and Title V program)
—Provides $178 million for evidence-based comprehensive sex education programs that prevent teen pregnancy
—Provides a modest $10 million increase in the Title X family planning program, to a total of $317 million
—Extends access to basic health care to millions more women through the Medicaid State Option Family Planning Waiver
—Does not remove onerous restrictions on women’s ability to access the full range of reproductive health care
“President Obama’s budget makes clear that the government won’t waste federal dollars on programs that don’t reduce the number of teen pregnancies or keep teens healthy and safe. We applaud the president for rejecting failed abstinence-only programs that have cost our government more than $1 billion and, instead, invest in evidence-based sex ed programs that have proven to help prevent teen pregnancy,” said PPSFTC President Lillian Tamayo.
President Obama’s budget completely eliminates funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program and the Title V Abstinence Education program for states, saving the federal government $149 million. In addition, the president’s budget includes $178 million in new funding for “evidence-based” teen pregnancy prevention programs. Of that, $75 million is designated for “programs that replicate the elements of one or more teenage pregnancy prevention programs that have been proven through rigorous evaluation to delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use (without increasing sexual activity), or reduce teenage pregnancy”; and $25 million is slotted for research and development of new and innovative strategies for preventing teen pregnancy.
“We commend the investment in women’s health and the commitment to make family planning and basic health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, more accessible and affordable to millions of low-income women and their families,” said Tamayo. “Yet, at a time when health centers like ours are seeing an increase in the number of women seeking basic preventive care, the president’s budget misses an opportunity to further invest and strengthen the Title X program. Title X is a vital component of the health care safety net and one of the most effective programs in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. We will continue to work with President Obama and Congress to ensure that Title X and women’s health are priorities as they move toward reform of our health care system.”
President Obama’s budget provides a modest $10 million increase in the Title X program, the nation’s family planning program, for a total of $317 million. The Title X family planning program provides basic health care to more than five million women and families. Six in 10 clients consider a family planning center their main source of health care. However, funding has not kept pace with inflation, and more than 17 million women are in need of publicly funded family planning services. Investing in the Title X program also saves money. According to the Guttmacher Institute, taxpayers save $4 for every $1 dollar spent on family planning.
President Obama’s budget also includes a provision to expand family planning under Medicaid, which would extend family planning coverage to millions more women.
Expanding family planning under Medicaid has been one of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s top priorities under our national Prevention First Agenda. Also known as the Medicaid Family Planning State Option, it would simply allow states to expand their Medicaid family planning services, including cancer screenings and other preventive care, to more women in need, without having to go through the burdensome Medicaid waiver process.
The Medicaid Family Planning State Option would have a significant impact on women’s health and is vital to expanding care to the millions of women who are losing their jobs and/or their health insurance in this economic downturn. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this provision would provide coverage to 2.3 million low-income women by 2014. A study by the Guttmacher Institute finds that this flexible option would help 500,000 women avoid unplanned pregnancy.
An additional aspect of concern is that the president’s budget does not remove government funding restrictions on abortion services. Restrictions on public funding for abortion services have severely hindered access to safe abortion care for women, disproportionately affecting poor women.
“We are disappointed that the budget did not remove restrictions on women’s ability to access the full range of reproductive health care services,” said Tamayo. “Placing onerous restrictions on women is not effective public policy. We look forward to working with the president and Congress to remove these restrictions.”
“As the nation’s leading advocate and provider of women’s reproductive health care, every day we see that the best way to prevent unintended pregnancies and promote healthy families is to invest in family planning programs and ensure more women have access to affordable, quality reproductive health care,” said Tamayo. “The president’s budget is a step in that direction.”
The mission of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and Treasure Coast, Inc. is to provide comprehensive sexual health care through the provision of clinical services, education and advocacy. We do so by understanding and responding to the needs of those seeking our services, and by protecting and respecting the essential privacy rights, dignity and culture of each individual. www.ppsoflo.org
May 08, 2009