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Washington – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined a group of her colleagues in calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to request that the fiscal year 2020 budget include $400 million for the Title X family planning program.

Title X health centers rely on federal funding to provide essential preventive health and family planning services to millions of low-income Americans. Title X has been shown to save taxpayers money in the long run by saving in Medicaid-related costs. It is estimated that Title X brings in a net saving of $7 billion a year for federal and state governments.

“Title X is the only federal program dedicated to providing family planning services for low-income patients and serves more than 4 million people at nearly 4,000 health centers around the country each year,” the senators wrote. “Because of this funding, these centers provide high-quality reproductive and sexual health care, including cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive services and supplies, pregnancy testing, complete and medically accurate information about all pregnancy options, and other basic health care. Title X centers offer care to populations that often face severe barriers to accessing quality health care such as people with low incomes, people of color, people in rural areas, and LGBTQ people.”

The senators continued: “Unfortunately, access to Title X services has been seriously jeopardized by funding cuts in recent years. In 2016, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of Population Affairs, and George Washington University estimated that Title X would need $737 million annually to deliver family planning care to all low-income uninsured women in the United States. The gap between funds appropriated and funds needed has continued to grow in recent years: between 2010 and 2014, Congress cut Title X’s funding by $31 million, even though the number of women in need of publicly funded family planning care grew by 1 million in that period.”

In the letter, the senators note efforts by the Trump administration to undermine this program, including by publishing a domestic “gag rule” that, if implemented, would restrict women’s access to critical reproductive health services.

“As separate efforts progress to stop implementation of this devastating rule, it is critical that Congress unequivocally demonstrate its support for the Title X program in its current form and increase funding for the program,” the senators concluded.

For the full list of co-signers and the letter text click here.

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