Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Prevent states from defunding crucial family planning and health care providers for political reasons.
The movement to Block Defunding of Planned Parenthood has achieved a huge victory. Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that will ensure Planned Parenthood and other similar clinics across the nation receive the federal funding they are due. The rule prevents states from voting to withhold Title X federal family planning money from organizations like Planned Parenthood simply because some of their clinics provide abortions. Federal funding can only be withheld on the grounds that a provider is unable “to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” This means that low income families across the country can be sure of their access to birth control, cancer screenings, and any other manner of health care that they need.
Title X is a program that provides basic family planning and preventative health care to 4 million low-income Americans, a third of whom are served by Planned Parenthood. The money that Planned Parenthood receives from Title X goes toward contraceptives and screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted infections. The federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives under Title X is not, under any circumstances, allowed to be used for abortions. And yet, the simple fact that some of Planned Parenthood’s clinics provide abortions — regardless of the fact that they never put federal money toward those services — has been enough to make politicians in 11 states vote to deprive patients of the health services they need by withholding Title X funds.
Currently, one of these vital services that defunding Planned Parenthood would remove is the fight against Zika, where family planning providers have been leading the charge. Zika causes severe birth defects, and the Center for Disease Control’s main strategy in preventing this is to use family planning and birth control to help women avoid or delay pregnancy while the virus is running rampant. Planned Parenthood is already providing at-risk neighborhoods with Zika prevention kits and education, but unfortunately some of the states with the highest risk, like Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, have voted to drop funds for Planned Parenthood.
However, all of those states will be required to return funds to these providers, and thereby return health care access to millions of low income American households, when the new Title X rule becomes permanent. Let us applaud this huge victory and thank the Obama administration.
Dear President Obama,
Thank you for the proposal of the new Title X rule, which will protect so many Americans from being denied access to vital family planning services and affordable health care. Far too many family planning organizations have been defunded on unreasonable grounds. Title X stipulates that federal funding is never used for abortions, so whether or not particular clinics provide that service in addition to so many others is not a relevant reason to withhold Title X funds. This only deprives women and families of necessary health care services like screenings and contraception.
Especially now, with Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics at the forefront of the fight against Zika, it is paramount that these organizations receive the government support they deserve. Millions of Americans will benefit from the universal protection of Planned Parenthood. I applaud this move to preserve the well-being of the American citizen and to ensure that Planned Parenthood and other organizations like it are not unjustly penalized simply because of the political leanings of politicians in their state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: S. Mirk