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Chu, Slaughter, DeGette, and Pallone Lead Nearly 160 of their Colleagues in Demanding Speaker Ryan Stop the Republican Attack on Women’s Health

February 14, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Diana DeGette (CO-01), and Frank Pallone (NJ-06) today led nearly 160 of their colleagues in demanding that Speaker Ryan stop Republicans’ unprecedented assault on women’s health care. Despite their promise to focus on jobs and the economy, Republican leaders have made attacking women’s health care their top priority during the 115th Congress. This week, the House will consider the most serious threat so far, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that would roll back a Title X rule designed to shield family planning clinics across the country from partisan state-level defunding efforts.

“While Republicans are leaving all Americans uncertain about the future of their healthcare, they are removing healthcare options for women altogether. This attack on Title X is just the latest in a series of efforts to limit women’s access to healthcare and the ability to plan for their families and their lives. Title X has a long, bipartisan history of support, and for 6 in 10 patients, Title X clinics serve as their ‘usual or only’ source of healthcare. Denying women access to Title X will jeopardize essential services, like cancer screenings, HIV testing, counseling services, and sex education. And once again, it is low-income women who will be hurt the most. A woman’s healthcare choices should be up to her and her doctor, not Republican lawmakers,” said Chu.

“From working to repeal the Affordable Care Act to advancing legislation to place unprecedented limits on women’s access to reproductive health services, Republicans have made attacking women’s health their top priority. Consideration this week of a measure to roll back the Title X rule is the most serious threat to women’s health so far this Congress. Programs supported by Title X help provide life-saving and preventative health care services to uninsured and low-income men and women nationwide. It is outrageous that Congressional Republicans are now trying to allow conservative state legislatures to pick and choose who can provide this essential care. This marks an entirely new front on Congressional Republicans’ never-ending crusade against women’s access to reproductive health services,” said Slaughter.

“At a time when millions of constituents are phoning, showing up at our offices, and doing everything they can to stop Congress from ripping away their health care, Republicans must be entirely tone-deaf as they prepare to take this step, “ DeGette said. “Thanks to Title X funding, people who face the steepest challenges in accessing care can receive basic and potentially life-saving services at the health centers closest to them.  Sadly, if the roll-back of this program succeeds, those who will suffer most are the uninsured, people with low incomes, and those living in rural and remote areas.”  

“Title X provides critical grants to public and nonprofit organizations that offer a broad range of family planning and preventive health services to more than 4 million women, men and teens every year,” said Pallone. “This resolution is another attempt by Congressional Republicans to limit women’s access to high-quality essential health care, and it should be rejected.”

The letter highlights Republicans’ relentless attacks on women’s choices, access to care, and economic security. In addition to pushing to roll back the Title X rule, Republican leaders are also working to repeal the Affordable Care Act without anything to take its place, defund Planned Parenthood and advance the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R. 7), which would effectively ban private insurance companies from covering comprehensive reproductive health services.

Immediately after taking office, the president signed a dramatic expansion of the Global Gag Rule, which forces health providers eligible for U.S. assistance to choose between receiving U.S. funding or providing comprehensive health care services to their patients.

Text of letter is included below and is available with the full list of cosigners online here:

 

February 14, 2017

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House of Representatives
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan:

We write to express our grave concern for efforts to undermine Title X family planning.  Despite promises to focus on jobs and the economy, Republicans have started the 115th Congress with a total assault on women’s choices, access to care, and economic security by:

•           Charging ahead to sabotage and dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while making no promises to preserve vital protections for women; 

•           Providing little to no details on their plans to replace ACA, while making a point to announce that their ACA repeal package will block access to Planned Parenthood, a high-quality, long-trusted provider of reproductive health services;

•           Rushing to impose and dramatically expand the global gag rule, harming women around the world; and

•           Advancing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R. 7) through the House, effectively banning private insurance companies from covering comprehensive reproductive health services.

Now, with their most recent effort to weaken the Title X national family planning program through the Congressional Review Act, Republicans have demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to limit women’s access to vital health care.  Sadly, this includes contraception and family planning services that all women need.

For more than 40 years, Title X has served as a cornerstone of safety-net care. As the only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning, Title X allows a diverse network of providers to deliver high-quality care to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured individuals and to those seeking confidential care. In 2014 alone, Title X-funded clinics helped prevent approximately 904,000 unintended pregnancies, 326,000 abortions, and 439,000 unplanned births. In addition to direct clinical care, Title X also supports critical infrastructure needs for health centers, including new medical equipment and staff training that are not reimbursable under Medicaid and commercial insurance. This infrastructure is vital to ensuring safe, quality care at health centers which serve and provide basic health services to high-need populations.

Throughout both Democratic and Republican administrations, Title X has been interpreted to prohibit state actions that block providers or classes of providers from participating in a Title X project based on factors unrelated to a provider’s qualifications to perform the required services. The networks include providers ranging from state, county, and local health departments as well as hospitals, family planning councils, Planned Parenthood affiliates, federally qualified health centers and other private non-profit organizations.  In fact, in instances when states have passed laws to limit provider participation in Title X, federal courts have consistently held that those state laws are contrary to, and preempted by, federal law.

In response to a growing number of states targeting family planning providers for exclusion from key federal health programs, including Title X, the previous Administration proposed the regulation “Compliance with Title X Requirements by Project Recipients in Selecting Subrecipients.”  The regulation, which was finalized in December 2016, helps ensure patient access to family planning services and supplies through qualified providers by reiterating that “no recipient making subawards for the provision of services as part of its Title X project may prohibit an entity from participating for reasons other than its ability to provide Title X services.” During the rulemaking process, the Department of Health and Human Services received more than 145,000 comments, the vast majority of which supported the rule.

Women across the United States, and the men who support them, have had enough.  They are fed up with politicians interfering with their personal health decisions.  It is unconscionable that this common sense clarification has become a political football for members of Congress who want to limit women’s ability to make decisions about their own bodies and personal plans for their families. We urge you to stand in support of women and oppose this assault on contraceptive access and care.

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