WASHINGTON, D.C. [6.23.23] – This week, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced legislation to protect access to critical reproductive health care services—like birth control, cancer screenings, and more—by providing a consistent and strong source of funding for the Title X Family Planning Program.
The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning and preventive health services. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rely on the program for essential health care. In 2020 alone, over 1.5 million patients received family planning services through Title X. Title X is funded through the annual appropriations process, which subjects the program to an unpredictable funding stream that is insufficient to meet the national need. The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would provide a consistent and strong source of funding for Title X.
The bill is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Fetterman (D-PA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Peter Welch (D- VT) ,and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (KS-03).
“At a time when Americans’ reproductive freedoms are under attack from extremist Republicans, the Title X Family Planning Program is more important than ever,” said Senator Smith. “Title X funding provides American women with access to critical reproductive health services. I invite all my Republican colleagues who claim to champion family planning services to join us in supporting this commonsense legislation that will protect women’s access to birth control, pregnancy counseling, basic infertility services, and more.”
“In overturning Roe v. Wade, Republicans have created a full-fledged health care crisis—and inadvertently put a spotlight on the challenges women face to accessing basic reproductive health care services. The Title X Family Planning Program helps close that gap, providing critical services to low-income women and families, from birth control to cancer screenings,” said Senator Murray. “We should be doing everything we can to strengthen this program and make sure it has the reliable funding necessary to continue its important work—and that’s exactly what this bill does.”
“The Title X Family Planning Program is critical to protect comprehensive family planning and preventive health services across the country,” said Senator Warren. “As Republican extremists continue to attack reproductive freedom, this bill will create consistent and strong funding for Title X, ensuring Americans have access to the contraception, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other essential services family planning clinics provide.”
“As access to reproductive health care is under attack and our personal freedoms are called into question, it has never been more important to ensure Kansans can access birth control, life-saving preventive care, and family planning services through vital resources like Title X clinics,” said Rep. Davids. “These clinics deliver services that folks across our country rely on to plan a family and stay healthy, and we should do everything in our power to safeguard their resources.”
“NFPRHA urges the Senate to pass the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act, key legislation that would secure strong, consistent funding for Title X, a critical part of the public health safety net that is desperate for more support,” said Clare Coleman, President & CEO, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). “At a time when reproductive health is under increased attack and in addition to efforts to restore abortion access, Congress has a responsibility to expand access to family planning and sexual health care, such as birth control, cancer screenings, and STI services made possible by Title X. We are grateful for Sen. Smith and Rep. Davids for their support of this important legislation and urge Congress to use any legislative vehicle to provide this needed support for the Title X family planning program as soon as possible.”
The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would:
- Provide $512 million in mandatory funding for Title X services for each of the next 10 fiscal years. This is well above the $286.5 million the program received in FY2023.
- Deliver $50 million in mandatory funding for clinic construction, renovation, and related infrastructure enhancements for each of the next 10 fiscal years.
- Reinstate regulations prohibiting discrimination of providers who deliver Title X services.
- Require that pregnancy counseling include information about prenatal care and delivery, infant care, foster care, adoption, and pregnancy termination, unless a patient does not have any interest in receiving information about an option.
Senator Smith has led efforts to protect women’s reproductive freedoms, and repeatedly called on colleagues to codify Roe v. Wade into law. Earlier this year, Smith reintroduced the Protecting Access to Medication Abortion Act, which would ensure that women can always access medication abortion through telehealth and certified pharmacies, including mail-order pharmacies.
The bill is endorsed by the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, NARAL Pro-Choice, National Council of Jewish Women, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Guttmacher Institute, Upstream USA, National Coalition of STD Directors, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Women’s Law Center, Advocates for Youth, and Power to Decide.