Memo To Congress: Family Planning Needs More Funding
In times of economic uncertainty the demand for publicly funded family-planning services increases. Since the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession, the need for Title X has grown dramatically, while funding levels have declined or remained flat. Over the past few years the Title X budget has been cut by $40 million. To make matters worse, the anti-family-planning and overall austerity sentiments that have since prevailed reduced and restricted family-planning budgets in many states. There have been fewer state and federal funds for women’s health during the very time that women have also lost jobs and insurance coverage.
When Title X centers lose funding, they are forced to make cuts in three places: services and supplies, hours, and staff. As a result of funding challenges, 6 in 10 Title X clinics have been unable to stock the most costly contraceptives, particularly long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as the IUD and implants, methods considered highly effective and most desirable among women wanting to avoid pregnancy.
Family planning is first and foremost a matter of women’s health and rights. But it is also central to women’s economic security. The continued fragility of the U.S. economy and the recession’s devastating impact on low-income families requires an increased investment in family planning. American families, many of them now headed by single women, face enormous challenges. Access to affordable contraception enables women to pursue educational and professional opportunities that strengthen their families and their communities. The majority of women who participated in a recent Guttmacher Institute study report that birth control enables them to support themselves financially, complete their education, and get or keep a job.
Given the tenuous state of the U.S. economy, the vulnerability of women’s health programs in the face of unrelenting political attacks, and the fraying social safety net more broadly, public funding for family planning is more critical than ever. Continued — indeed, increased — funding of Title X will maximize the impact and reach of the ACA and ensure continued quality care for those who remain uninsured.
Cross-posted from the Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal blog.
The Roosevelt Institute is a non-profit organization devoted to carrying forward the legacy and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
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