END OF YEAR DEAL FAILS TO INCLUDE CRITICAL PROTECTIONS FOR THOSE MOST IN NEED
(Washington, D.C.) – On Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, the House passed two bills to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2020, and the Senate passed these bills on Thursday, Dec. 19. The President is expected to sign them into law before current federal government funding expires at midnight on Friday, Dec. 20.
Among other things, the legislation:
- Provides level funding for the Title X Family Planning Program at $286.5 million, but does not include any language to reverse the harm of the domestic gag rule.
- Provides level funding for the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program at $101 million, but does not include any language to protect the integrity of the program or provide a sixth year of funding to current five-year grantees to mitigate against the unlawful disruption of their grants.
- Provides level funding for research into teen pregnancy prevention of $6.8 million.
- Provides level funding for “Sexual Risk Avoidance” (otherwise known as abstinence-only) programs at $35 million.
- Fails to remove restrictions on abortion coverage for those in need.
- Includes short-term extensions through May 22, 2020 for the high-quality, evidence-based Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), as well as the “Sexual Risk Avoidance” state formula grants.
“We are disappointed with the contents of this legislation. Though the government will remain open, and the spending package has offered level funding for key programs that have historically supported access to quality information and services necessary for people most in need to determine if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child, lawmakers failed to protect the integrity of these programs,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, Power to Decide. “Specifically, Congress failed to seize upon critical opportunities to reverse the damage done to the health care safety net by the Title X domestic gag rule and to protect the integrity of the TPP Program, and the young people who depend on it.”
To date, at least 8.8 million women in need of publicly funded contraception are at risk of not being able to access it because the clinic in their county has lost funding due to the domestic gag rule.
“When Congress returns in the new year, we urge them to continue to seek ways to protect the integrity of vital programs that help all people, no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they make to have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child,” continued Ehrlich.