Over the past few years, the fate of women's reproductive rights has been a major issue in the United States. Since 2016, concerned citizens and activists alike have increased efforts to make sure women across the country have access to safe and affordable health care. As of May 2018, one particular federal program has been under attack by the Trump administration, and it could have a devastating impact on women everywhere. So, what is Title X? It has a huge effect on women's birth control.
According to the Physicians for Reproductive Health website, Title X, also known as the Title X Family Planning Program, is a federal program that provides funding for birth control and other preventive health services, such as testing and treatment for STI's, breast and cervical screenings, and more. The program was created in 1970, and, according to Physicians for Reproductive Health, has served as a huge help to low-income women and families by providing health services that they typically might not be able to afford without the program.
The effect this federal program has on women across the country is unprecedented. In 2016, The Family Planning Annual Report: 2016 National Summary reported that Title X assisted more than 4 million clients in receiving family planning services.
Clearly, this federal program impacts how women receive affordable health care in the United States, but as of recently, Title X has faced changes from the Trump administration.
In May 2018, reports surfaced that the Trump administration planned to issue new guidelines for Title X, and its biggest change reportedly concerned abortion access. On Monday, March 4, the Trump administration released Title X's "final rule," which blocks clinics that provide or refer patients for abortions from receiving federal funding from Title X. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the final rule but did not hear back by the time of publication. This new guideline, also known as the "gag rule," impacts organizations like Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that not only provides abortion services but also breast exams, pap smears, STI screenings, and more.
However, it looks like Planned Parenthood and similar clinics aren't going down without a fight. On Tuesday, March 5, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Planned Parenthood and American Medical Association are suing the Trump administration as a way to challenge this rule. According to the Chronicle, the two entities stated in the lawsuit that the rule would result in "a national public health crisis in short order." Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the lawsuit but did not hear back by the time of publication.
While Planned Parenthood has received criticism from anti-choice groups and Republican party members, this nonprofit is a key player in women's health care. According to an August 2015 memo from the Guttmacher Institute, more than one-third of low-income women who receive birth control and other services through Title X use Planned Parenthood locations across the country. This could be partially because Planned Parenthood sometimes serves as the only family planning clinic in certain areas, according to a September 2015 article from Health Affairs journal. Therefore, stripping Planned Parenthood of its funding could mean that women in counties across the United States could lose their only accessible women's clinic.
This new ruling of Title X impacts clinics across the country, but more importantly, it could leave a devastating impact on low-income women and their families. However, judging by the public's reaction, it looks like this fight is far from over.