The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a measure that would eliminate all funding for 4,500 family planning clinics. On Tuesday, Feb. 15, the House will vote on a Continuing Resolution that would keep the federal government in operation, but also would zero out all funding for the Title X family planning programs (plus slash funding for many other important social programs).
This is an extremely urgent matter, and we strongly urge you to personally call as well as send an email message to your House member opposing this harmful action. You can use NOW's sample message as talking points for your call and send it as an email -- please do this now!
This is the most deadly assault on women's reproductive rights in recent times and demonstrates that our opponents not only want to eliminate women's right to abortion care, but their access to contraception and other important reproductive health services as well. Their effort to "zero" out all federal funding for this nation's vital network of family planning clinics, which have made access to reproductive health care affordable to countless millions of women and men, is unprecedented and needs to be stopped.
The national family planning program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act, is the only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services in the United States. It was established in 1970 with extensive bipartisan support, and provides high-quality family planning services and other preventive health care to low-income and uninsured individuals who would otherwise lack access to health care.
Health centers that receive Title X funds must provide an array of confidential preventive health services, many of which are vital to women's health. These include contraceptive services; pelvic exams; pregnancy testing; screening for cervical and breast cancer; screening for high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes; screening for STDs, including HIV; basic infertility services; health education; and referrals for other heath and social services.
The vast majority of Title X patients are poor and low-income. Seventy percent of patients have incomes at or below the federal poverty level. Title X ensures that these patients receive services at no cost to them, and their care is fully subsidized by public funding. Title X patients are disproportionately black and Latina, with 20 percent self-identifying as black and 28 percent as Latina. Cutting Title X funding would be unjust and detrimental to these already struggling communities.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called family planning one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Access to family planning has helped alter the social and economic roles of women, prevented unintended pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and decreased infant, child and maternal deaths, all while saving billions in taxpayer dollars.
According to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare Association, for 40 years, family planning services and supplies provided through Title X-funded health centers have prevented unintended pregnancies (almost half of which would have likely ended in abortion), improved public health and saved billions in taxpayer dollars. Yet despite these accomplishments, Title X has been continually under-funded and is facing the threat of significant cuts in the 112th Congress.
Please call and send a message immediately to your representatives urging them to oppose this harmful measure. Congress must protect funding for this essential, cost-effective program that consistently improves public health.