Attacks on Funding for Women's Health & Reproductive Healthcare
On February 18, the House of Representatives passed a measure eliminating federal funding of Planned Parenthood – funding used to provide health care and services such as cancer screening, contraception, sex education, counseling and STI testing for low-income women and men. Planned Parenthood provides these services to millions of Americans across the country, in communities both urban and rural, and in many communities is the only organization to do so.
Sponsors of the measure claim that it is about preventing federal funds from paying for elective abortions, yet Planned Parenthood does not – by law – use federal dollars to provide women with abortion care. Federal law requires that federal funds not be used to fund elective abortions and that they be segregated from funds that are used for abortion.
The attack on Planned Parenthood is part of a larger attack on reproductive health and family planning. As part of the same bill, the House voted to eliminate all funding for Title X, the National Family Planning Program. Title X is the only federal program devoted solely to providing family planning services nationwide and is also the sole entry point for many low-income women and men into the health care system.
While the bill that was passed by the House was defeated in the Senate, these proposals are not down for the count. It is possible – in fact, quite likely – that they will be raised again during this Congress.