Women’s Health Care Protections

This rule ensures more than 4 million patients can continue to access a diverse network of highly qualified, safety-net health care providers including Planned Parenthood.

H.J. Res. 43 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.).
S.J. Res. 13 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

OVERVIEW

The Title X rule helps ensure those most in need, including those who are poor or low income or lack health insurance, have access to high-quality family planning services and related preventive care. Since 1970, Title X has been the nation’s only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing family planning services, such as cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment, and well-woman exams.

This rule was issued in response to a sharp rise in state efforts to ban trusted providers from the program, actions which threaten the integrity of the Title X program and individuals’ access to the services they need. Among other things, the rule reinforces that it is against the law for states to block people from accessing care at a Title X–supported health center because that organization also separately provides safe, legal abortion. The rule garnered widespread support during the public comment period, with 91 percent of the roughly 145,000 responses in favor of the rule.

IMPACTS

Title X helps more than 4 million people access family planning and related services at nearly 4,000 health centers around the country annually.  For many women, particularly those who are low-income, uninsured or adolescents, Title X is essential to their ability to affordably obtain birth control, cancer screenings, STI tests and other basic care.

  • Eighty-five percent of the people served by the Title X family planning program have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and nearly half are uninsured.
  • In 2015 alone, Title X–supported health centers provided nearly 800,000 Pap tests, breast exams to 1 million women, nearly 5 million tests for STIs, and 1 million HIV tests.
  • Six in 10 women who access care from a publicly funded health center providing contraceptive services, such as Title X-funded service sites, consider that provider 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 Title X 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 15 percent identify as Black.

Blocking care at Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care–focused providers, which this rule seeks to prevent, has devastating consequences.

  • After Kansas defunded Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care providers, the number of people accessing birth control, cancer screenings, STI tests, well-woman exams, and other care through the Title X program fell by more than 14,000.
  • A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood in Texas was associated with a 35 percent decline in women in publicly funded programs using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27 percent increase in births among women who had previously accessed injectable contraception through those programs.
  • Blocking patients from care at health centers has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care. For example, in Texas, researchers found that 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.
OPPONENTS

Backed by groups like the Family Research Council, anti-women’s health members of Congress with long records of opposing access to the full range of reproductive health care services are leading the charge to repeal this critical protection.

CONTACTS

Danielle Wells, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, (202) 973-4854

Audrey Sandusky, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, (202) 344-5805

NEWS AND RESOURCES

Playing Politics With Women’s Health
The Lebanon Daily News: March 17, 2017

Why We Cannot Afford to Undercut the Title X National Family Program
Guttmacher Institute: January 30, 2017