By Amalia Corby-Edwards (Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer, APA Public Interest Government Relations Office)
Over the past few months, reproductive health services funded by Title X of the Public Health Service Act have come under intense fire. This spring, House Republicans presented a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year which included a not entirely unexpected funding cut for Title X Family Planning. Then, over the summer, a series of videos targeting Planned Parenthood, which provides Title X-funded services, surfaced. The videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the collection and sale of fetal tissue. Whether these videos are accurate is questionable, but they shocked many and were well-timed to fuel conservative attacks against the organization. The fight has escalated to the point of threatening funding for the entire federal government, raising the specter of a potential government shutdown.
What is Title X?
Title X funds reproductive health services, such as counseling and contraceptives, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive health services for low-income women. The program has existed for over 40 years and helps women to manage their reproductive health, regardless of income. If Title X funding is cut, many clinics would be forced to make drastic cuts in these vital services. Critics of the program argue that the clinics funded by Title X perform abortions in addition to the other services offered. However, by law, no federal funds may be used for abortion-related services—abortions must be funded in other ways.
Title X by the numbers
Annually, the Title X Family Planning program supports:
more than 1.5 million cervical cancer screenings;
3 million HIV tests;
Reproductive health services for low-income women—91% of their clients have incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level; and
Contraceptives that avert an estimated one million unintended pregnancies.
What Title X means for women across the country
Research indicates that women are overrepresented among those living in poverty; additionally, women are more often responsible for raising children and are increasingly likely to raise children alone. Access to reproductive health services is essential to women’s ability to control when and if they have children, as these decisions affect their socioeconomic standing and earning power. Low-income women also have lower rates of mammography screening, which increases their risk of death from breast cancer.
APA supports freedom of reproductive choice as a mental health and child welfare issue and also supports access to affordable basic health care services. In 2013, nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s patients were enrolled in Medicaid, and more than half of Planned Parenthood facilities were located in rural or medically underserved areas. Cutting off Title X funds would severely restrict access to reproductive health services for the women who need it most.
What you can do
If you believe in Title X and access to safe and affordable reproductive health care for all women, please contact your members of Congress and urge them to restore full funding for Title X!
 APA Fact Sheet on Women and Socioeconomic Status: http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/factsheet-women.pdf
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