Posted by Sharon Phillips, MD February 20, 2011 at 4:31 PM
The House budget bill seeks to entirely eliminate funding for Title X family planning programs. Such cuts would harm some of my most vulnerable patients. Title X programs are available to women who don’t qualify for Medicaid, either due to their immigration status or because they make slightly more than the income threshold, but work in jobs that do not offer health insurance.
Title X funds family planning, screening for sexually transmitted infections, and screening for cervical cancer. For many young women, this covers all of their medical needs. The funding also helps to train medical providers, to research family planning provision, and to engage in community outreach and education.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, one-quarter of US women seeking contraceptive services do so from a publicly funded family planning clinic. 73% of poor women who get their contraceptive care from such clinics consider it their routine source of medical care.
Title X funding is crucial to many of the young women I care for. The cost of seeing a physician is prohibitive for some. Because of Title X funds, the women I care for can get pap smears and contraceptive services. I recently took care of a woman who is struggling to make ends meet as a baby sitter and taking care of two children of her own. She was constantly worried about becoming pregnant, because she couldn’t always afford her birth control prescriptions when she needed them. Her friend referred her to my clinic to get an IUD, an implantable form of contraception that works for many years after insertion. She did not have to pay for the IUD, and she hugged me when she left, because she was so relieved that she could focus on taking care of her family and her long-term goals instead of constantly worrying about paying for visits to the doctor and her prescriptions.
Title X is also one of the best investments we can make as a nation. Every dollar invested in Title X family planning services saves $3.80.
Title X provides vital medical services to vulnerable populations that would otherwise slip through the cracks. Please contact your congressional representatives to tell them you support Title X family planning funding for your patients. Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) has set up an easy way to email your representatives here.