WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/19/22]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a group of their Democratic colleagues in introducing the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act. The bill would 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 Senators’ Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would provide a consistent and strong source of funding for Title X.
“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.”
“Our legislation will strengthen Title X to help more patients get the birth control they need, the cervical and breast cancer screenings that could save their life, and the support they need to plan a family on their own terms,” said Senator Murray. “I’d just ask all of my Republican colleagues—who have been loudly talking about supporting women and have been using their so-called support for family planning to cover up their extreme agenda—what is your word worth? Will you actually support women—and help them get the birth control they need? On Thursday, women across the country will be watching closely.”
“All across this country, Americans are facing rampant attacks on their reproductive freedom, emboldened by the extremist Supreme Court and radical right-wing politicians,” said Senator Warren. “In the face of these attacks, we must strengthen and expand the Title X Family Planning Program, which ensures access to contraception, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and other essential health care. If Republicans really support women and families, as they claim, they should join us.”
The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would:
- Provide $500 million in mandatory funding for Title X services for each of the next 10 fiscal years. This is well above the $286 million the program received in FY2022.
- 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.
In addition to Senators Smith, Murray, and Warren, the legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
The bill is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Catholics for Choice, the National Partnership for Women & Families, Power to Decide, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Council of Jewish Women, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, ACLU, Advocates for Youth, National Women’s Law Center, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Senator Smith has led efforts to protect women’s reproductive freedoms, and repeatedly called on colleagues to codify Roe v. Wade into Law. Last month, in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe, Smith introduced 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. Weeks ago, after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, she penned an op-ed with Senator Warren holding Republicans accountable for their attack on reproductive freedoms and calling on Democrats to use every tool available to protect and restore women’s reproductive rights.