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Title X funding announcement makes it harder for Connecticut women to receive birth control and other reproductive health care services.

On Friday, the Trump-Pence administration took aim at the Title X program – the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care that more than four million people – including more than 40,000 in Connecticut – rely on each year. Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) serves more than 80 percent of all Title X patients in Connecticut at 12 health centers. Repeatedly, community health centers have stated they cannot absorb the patients served by Planned Parenthood, putting people at risk of losing access to essential health care services.

“The Trump-Pence administration’s new call for funding applications radically shifts the program’s priorities and is designed to hurt women. This is their latest effort to take away our basic rights and health care as they continue taking aim at access to birth control under the nation’s program for affordable reproductive health care,” said Amanda Skinner, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “Do not be fooled – this is a clear attempt to roll back access to the type of birth control that most women want to use. The last thing anyone wants is for Donald Trump or Mike Pence to weigh in on their sex life, but this announcement essentially invites them into the bedroom.”

The Title X funding announcement is designed to penalize reproductive health care providers and make it harder for women to access expert reproductive health care under the program. The announcement does this by attempting to block women from going to expert reproductive health care providers, like Planned Parenthood, and instead pushing them to go to providers that emphasize abstinence-only and do not provide the full range of birth control methods, like IUDs or implants. Additionally, it opens the door to anti-abortion counseling centers participating in the program.  

Furthermore, the announcement is clearly designed to roll back access to the most effective forms of birth control. For example, in a clear shift in priorities, the call for applications removes references to Quality Family Planning recommendations, the national standard of clinical care for family planning services produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Office of Population Affairs. It also removes references to ensuring access to the 18 FDA-approved contraceptive methods. Similarly, consistent with a leaked White House memo that promoted fertility awareness methods under the program, the term “natural family planning” – a reference to fertility awareness methods like the rhythm method or calendar method – appears six times, but the term “Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives” (LARC), the most effective methods of birth control like IUDs and implants that have been growing in popularity, does not appear once.

“The harmful policies of this administration continue to put millions of people’s health at risk. Their actions have spurred a historic backlash, which is why you are seeing people rise up all across the country. An unstoppable grassroots movement has taken shape in response to their actions – and will only continue to grow,” said Skinner. “Planned Parenthood will never stop serving our patients, and will never stop fighting for the health care services and information they want and need. We are here for our patients – our doors stay open, no matter what.”