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House GOP: Eliminate Family Planning Services for Low-Income Families

Christine Grimaldi

Republicans have long wielded the appropriations process against Title X. This effort marks the latest House GOP attempt to do away with the program.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are again proposing to zero out federal Title X family planning funding to health-care providers that serve people with low incomes.
A House appropriations subcommittee Thursday afternoon will begin marking up the fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) funding bill purporting to cut “low-priority programs” while investing in “essential health.” The bill axes all funding, about $300 million, for what Republicans on the committee called the “controversial” Title X program.

Republicans have long wielded the appropriations process against Title X. This effort marks the latest House GOP attempt to eliminate the program. The House did not release a draft Labor-HHS proposal the two years in which it escaped the GOP’s wrath.

Title X-subsidized providers serve a diverse population of people with low incomes. Of the four million Title X patients, 30 percent self-identified as Black or African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or American Indian or Alaska Native; 32 percent self-identified as Hispanic or Latino; and 13 percent had limited English proficiency, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) data from 2015.

Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million in federal Title X funds, per nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office data from 2015. The health-care organization’s affiliates treat about 1.5 million patients through Title X, according to internal accounting.
Republicans have touted community health centers as they attempt to “defund” Planned Parenthood in their embattled repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Contrary to GOP talking points, community health centers can’t make up the gap in care that would result from depriving Planned Parenthood of some $390 million in annual Medicaid reimbursements.
At the same time, Republicans have done everything in their power to undermine Title X.
President Trump in April delivered the final blow to Obama-era family planning protections that Republicans targeted in a series of contentious votes. Trump appointed notorious birth control foe Teresa Manning to helm the HHS office charged with ensuring people with low incomes have access to family planning services. Manning believes “contraception doesn’t work,” and her boss, HHS Secretary Tom Price, believes “there’s not one” woman who can’t afford birth control.
The consequences of gutting Title X don’t fly with NFPRHA officials.
“The unintended pregnancy rate is at a record low and the rate of teen pregnancy is at a 30-year low. If Title X is eliminated, we will reverse those public health gains,” NFPRHA President and CEO Clare Coleman said in a statement.
“Women will be more vulnerable to STDs and at a greater risk of unintended pregnancy and poor birth outcomes. This subcommittee bill must go no further.”

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