Menendez, Booker Join Senate Dems and Call On President-Elect Trump to Protect Access To Family Planning Centers

Menendez, Booker Join Senate Dems and Call On President-Elect Trump to Protect Access To Family Planning Centers

In new letter, 34 Senate Democrats call on President-elect Trump to implement “historic rule” protecting Title X family planning program. Senators to President-elect Trump: “Despite your decision to nominate Congressman Price, you have as recently as this year claimed to support Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest family planning provider.”

 
NEWARK, N.J. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker joined more than 30 Senate Democrats in a letter to President-elect Donald Trump urging him to oppose any efforts by Republicans to restrict federal funding from supporting Title X family planning centers.

“The economic security of women and their families is directly tied to a woman’s access to reproductive health care, including birth control and counseling,” wrote the Senators in the letter. “Despite numerous Court decisions supporting and reiterating the importance of reproductive health care for women and families, Republicans in Congress have repeatedly attempted to restrict federal funding from supporting Title X family planning centers in communities nationwide.”

In the letter, the Senators call on President-elect Trump to commit to implement a final rule by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reinforces existing protections in the Title X program to ensure no qualified health care provider, like Planned Parenthood, is excluded from eligibility for federal funding. The final rule will help guarantee that women and LGBT people have access to the care entitled to them under federal law.

“President-elect Trump, women across the country have reason to be deeply concerned about the impact your administration could have on their health, their access to care, and therefore their economic security. We urge you to take clear position in favor of women’s health by supporting access to birth control and family planning services at Planned Parenthood and other Title X clinics nationwide.”

 

Background on Title X

Enacted with strong bipartisan support in 1970, the Title X family planning provider network is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. In fact, four out of ten women who received care at health centers funded by Title X consider it to be their only source of health care. And last year alone, Title X provided basic primary and preventive health care services such as pap tests, breast exams, and HIV testing to more than 4.1 million low-income women and men at over 4,100 health centers.

In December, the Obama Administration finalized a historic rule that protects the Title X program from partisan efforts to undermine women’s access to health care, by ensuring that federal funds are awarded based on a provider’s ability to serve patients—not based on any discriminatory purpose. Before the rule was finalized, Senate Republicans were already threatening to roll it back in the new Congress.

Along with Sens. Menendez and Booker, the letter was signed by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the letter is here and below:

 

December 22, 2016

 

President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Trump Tower

725 5th Ave

New York, NY 10022

 

Dear President-Elect Trump:

We write to express our great concern regarding the protection of our nation’s family planning centers in the next Congress and under your Administration. The economic security of women and their families is directly tied to a woman’s access to reproductive health care, including birth control and counseling.

 

Despite numerous Court decisions supporting and reiterating the importance of reproductive health care for women and families, Republicans in Congress have repeatedly attempted to restrict federal funding from supporting Title X family planning centers in communities nationwide. Quality of care, not politics, should drive a health care provider’s eligibility for federal funding. We urge you to stand with women and against Congressional Republicans by committing to implement a recently finalized rule stopping extreme Republicans from limiting communities’ health care options for purely ideological reasons.

Enacted with strong bipartisan support in 1970, the Title X family planning provider network is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. In fact, four out of ten women who received care at health centers funded by Title X consider it to be their only source of health care.[1] And last year alone, Title X provided basic primary and preventive health care services such as pap tests, breast exams, and HIV testing to more than 4.1 million low-income women and men at over 4,100 health centers.

On December 14, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a historic rule which ensures that federal funds are awarded to health care providers based on their ability to serve patients and not for discriminatory or political reasons. This regulation clarifies and reinforces existing protections in the Title X program to ensure no qualified provider is excluded from eligibility for federal funding, and guarantee that women and LGBT Americans have access to the care entitled to them under federal law. However, before the ink was even dry on this rule, Senate Republicans had already threatened to undo this historic rule, jeopardizing the health of millions of women and families.[2]

Regrettably, your selection of Congressman Tom Price for HHS Secretary further reinforces threats to women’s reproductive health care. To cite one example, in response to a question about what would happen to women if the birth control benefit was taken away, Congressman Price stated in 2012, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one.”[3] As the head of HHS, Congressman Price will have unprecedented authority to target women’s health and turn back decades of progress based on misinformation about women’s health care needs.

Despite your decision to nominate Congressman Price, you have as recently as this year claimed to support Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest family planning provider, recognizing that the organization “has done very good work for millions of women.”[4] Family planning services, like those provided at Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers, should be available to all women, no matter where they live or how much money they make. It is critical that you take a stand against efforts to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care.

President-elect Trump, women across the country have reason to be deeply concerned about the impact your administration could have on their health, their access to care, and therefore their economic security. We urge you to take clear position in favor of women’s health by supporting access to birth control and family planning services at Planned Parenthood and other Title X clinics nationwide.

Sincerely,

###



[3] You Tube, Conservative Political Action Conference, Rep. Tom Price on birth control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_mu8CS0aWA

[4] It [Planned Parenthood] does do wonderful things but not as it relates to abortion. There are wonderful things having to do with women's health, but not when it comes to abortion. 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina, Feb 13, 2016.