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Led By Mike Pence, Male Politicians Vote to Claw Back Critical Healthcare Protections for 4 Million Title X Patients

Led By Mike Pence, Male Politicians Vote to Claw Back Critical Healthcare Protections for 4 Million Title X Patients

The U.S. Senate narrowly approved a measure yesterday that would overturn a rule to protect health care for more than 4 million people who rely on Title X, the nation's family planning program.

In a gross display of their disregard for women's health, Republican Senate leaders refused to even explain their support for the bill on the Senate floor, despite repeated demands from leaders like Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) resorted to bringing Vice President Mike Pence to cast the deciding vote.

To be clear, this bill does not "defund" Planned Parenthood. However, this move could embolden states to block access to family planning healthcare providers across the board, both Planned Parenthood health centers and independent clinics.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

"A group of male politicians - led by Mike Pence - are once again trying to rip away women's access to birth control. There's a reason this measure barely passed: People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and they will not stand for it. It's clear politicians in Congress will stop at nothing to claw back women's health and rights - and we'll need to fight back with everything we've got."

Statement from Mary Nolan, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon:

"Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and this move by Washington politicians would endanger their health and well-being. It is appalling that 24 hours earlier, Vice President Pence was headlining a forum on empowering women, then he turned around and led mostly male politicians to take away women's birth control. Too many people still face barriers to health care, especially young people, people of color, those who live in rural areas and people with low incomes. We will never stop fighting for the right of every person to access the care they need."

The current rule reinforces that it is against the law for state politicians to block people from accessing care at a health center of their choice because it also provides safe, legal abortion. These types of actions are already illegal, as a court in Florida found just this past summer. To date, every court to consider the issue on the merits has ruled that state politicians cannot block access to care at Planned Parenthood through the Title X family planning program.

When it was introduced by the Obama Administration last year, the rule garnered widespread support in the call for public comment, with 91 percent of the roughly 145,000 responses in favor of the rule.

Title X, the nation's family planning program, helps ensure that every person - regardless of where they live, how much money they make or whether they have health insurance - has access to basic, preventive reproductive health care. The rule ensures those most in need -- those who have very low incomes or lack health insurance -- still have access to lifesaving care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams.

People with low incomes and communities of color are two groups that have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality health care, are less likely to have health insurance and benefit most from these protections. In 2014, 14 percent of Planned Parenthood patients were black, and 23 percent were Latino/a. About 75 percent of Planned Parenthood patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

Background on Title X:

Simply put, Title X helps ensure more than 4 million people have health care in this country. The nation's family planning program offers preventive healthcare services to those most in need. This is the only way that millions of women who have low incomes or are uninsured have access to birth control, cancer screenings, STI tests and other basic care.

Posted on March 31, 2017 in News.
 
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