It Is Really Time to Thank Obama!
The Obama administration just released a proposed rule that would prevent states from defunding critical family planning providers.
How You Might Ask?
The short of it is, for over forty years the Title X family planning program has served as the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services, research, and training. Title X provides these and related preventive health care for low-income, under-insured, and uninsured individuals who might otherwise not be able to obtain family planning services.
Organizations that provide family planning services rely on Title X to continue to serve an ever growing number of individuals who depend on this funding for necessary care. While state, county, and local health departments and hospitals make up the majority of Title X service providers, other providers who receive Title X funds include family planning councils, Planned Parenthoods, federally qualified health centers, and other private non-profit organizations.
Last time I checked, I think most of us benefited from the services provided by at least one of these organizations.
Unfortunately, anti-choice politicians have attempted to steer Title X funds away from providers that offer comprehensive reproductive health care services for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of service they provide!
This past year alone twenty-four states have attempted to pass legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood, and other family planning clinics. Steering Title X funds away from reproductive health clinics hurts the ability of individuals—including men, women, and adolescents— to access the family planning services they need. Well, we are having none of that!
The proposed rule clarifies the law’s prohibition against those that receive Title X grants (i.e. states, family planning councils, etc.) from excluding organizations who are otherwise qualified to receive Title X funds. In plain English: states may not exclude comprehensive reproductive health clinics from eligibility just because they don’t like the other services the clinics may provide—like abortion. The law is clear that Title X funds cannot be used for abortion. But anti-choice politicians want to punish providers who also perform abortions to score political points. In a time when individuals desperately need access to family planning services—for instance to receive contraceptive counseling about preventing transmission of Zika—it is disingenuous to push a political agenda against clinics that may also provide abortion care.
Title X is the backbone of our nation’s family planning effort. Attacks on reproductive health providers unrelated to the quality of care they provide should not continue—we need Title X family planning programs. By making sure that fund recipients follow the law and don’t discriminate against providers because of other services they offer, the Obama administration is ensuring that Title X remains intact to provide access to health care for millions of people.