This past Thursday was a sad day when Senate Republicans voted to allow states to block Title X funding for Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers.
Planned Parenthood not only provides screening for cervical and breast cancer, contraceptive counseling and services, pregnancy testing, pelvic exams, screening for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, and infertility services. Planned Parenthood also offers screening for high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes, as well as health education and referrals to other health and social service agencies.
Almost half of Title X patients are uninsured, 35% have Medicaid or other public health insurance, and the remainder have private insurance. And 66% of Title X patients have incomes at or below the federal poverty level, which is less than $11,770 per year. Title X patients are disproportionately black and Hispanic or Latino, with 20% of Title X patients self-identifying as black and 32% as Hispanic or Latino. In 2015, Title X-funded providers served over 4 million low-income women and men.
Services provided by Title X centers helped women prevent half (1.1 million) of these unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 527,000 unplanned births and 363,000 abortions in 2012.
Loss of Title X funding for Planned Parenthood and other centers will deeply impact those women (as well as some men) that are most vulnerable and in desperate need of services. This decision jeopardizes health care for millions of people.