Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics

February 21, 2017
2 min read

ACOG condemns bill that could limit women’s health funding

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The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said it is ‘deeply disappointed’ in a recent House vote that could ultimately rescind an Obama-administration rule that prohibits states from restricting federal Title X funding for any reason other than an organization’s ability to perform the services being funded.

House Joint Resolution 43, which would rescind the rule passed in the House by a vote of 230-188 late last week and  now goes onto the Senate.

“Decisions about women’s health care should not be rooted in partisan politics, but should focus on increasing access to safe, effective, and timely care for all women,” the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) wrote in a statement. “ACOG urges the Senate to reject [House Joint Resolution] 43, and ensure women continue to receive the essential primary and preventive care they need."

Title X funds can be used for breast and cervical cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, STD testing and counseling, and to provide contraception options, but cannot be used to fund abortions or fund programs where abortion is a family planning method. Federal funding for abortions was banned in 1976.

One of the main recipients of Title X funding is Planned Parenthood. Even before last week’s vote, that group expressed concern over the resolution.

“Extremists in Congress are trying to make it easier for state politicians to take away people's health care — specifically, the 4 million people who rely on Title X for birth control and other care,” Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a release. “This is wrong, and it’s not what the American people want.”

In the final rule, HHS had stated that it had received 145,303 comments, 91% of them in favor of prohibiting states from limiting the Title X funding for reasons other than the ability to perform the tasks associated with them.  Barack Obama signed the rule into law, which went into effect 2 days before Donald J. Trump was sworn in to office.

According to its website, 3% of Planned Parenthood services are abortion services. During his campaign, Mr. Trump had stated he would, if elected, defund Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions. 

ACOG’s recent statement said that reversing the previous administration’s decision would have economic and medical consequences.

“Contraceptive access also results in significant cost savings to our nation by reducing unintended pregnancies. Currently, our nation’s unintended pregnancy rate is at a 30-year low, and we have the lowest rate of teen pregnancies in our history. These monumental successes are due in large part to increased access to contraception for our patients — often through Title X clinics. By passing this resolution, the House is willing to turn back the clock on this historic decline in unintended pregnancy rates, and increase health care costs.” – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Richards is president of Planned Parenthood.

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