APHA opposes Title X changes restricting access to basic reproductive and sexual health services

Date: Feb 25 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Megan Lowry, 202-777-3913 

Changes to the rule will make it harder for low-income women to access cancer screenings, STI treatment and testing, contraception and more

Washington, D.C., Feb. 25, 2019 – APHA vehemently opposes the sweeping changes made by the Trump administration to the Title X Family Planning Program, which has provided vital sexual and reproductive health services to people across the country for more than 40 years, and today provides services to 4 million people. Unprecedented in their scope and effect, the administration’s changes would dramatically decrease access for women to reproductive and sexual health services covered by Title X funds. 

Title X has been proven for decades to be a boon for public health, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing infertility, decreasing cervical cancer rates, and identifying, treating and preventing sexually transmitted infections.

The new rule states that medical providers who simply discuss abortion with patients, refer patients for an abortion or provide abortions won’t be able to receive any Title X funds. Title X funds are already prohibited from being used for abortions. In effect, the new rule stops providers offering the full range of reproductive health services from using Title X funds for basic health care including cancer screening, sexually transmitted infection testing and contraception. 

“It’s unconscionable to dictate how doctors are allowed to treat their patients,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, APHA’s executive director. “Political ideology has no place in the exam room.”

“This rule will have a dramatic and immediate effect on public health. It will decrease women’s access to basic health services across the country, and especially in underserved areas,” added Dr. Benjamin. “This administration is choosing to score political points by jeopardizing women’s health.”

The rule would disrupt the country’s family planning infrastructure, forcing doctors and health providers to choose between serving women with Title X funds and discussing, providing or referring abortion services. The rule would also increase health inequities, widening the gap between women who are able to access needed health services and those who are not.

APHA urges the administration to preserve and strengthen Title X programs, instead of compromising them with unnecessary over-regulation and limitations that are contrary to ethical medical practice and public health.

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APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.