Title X Family Planning Program
WHY IS CONTRACEPTIVE ACCESS IMPORTANT?
Women who decide to become pregnant, rather than having it “just happen,” are better prepared emotionally and financially for the demands of parenting. But they can’t make that decision if they lack access to contraception.
Forty-five percent of pregnancies among all women are described by the women themselves as unplanned. Women under age 30 account for the majority of these (nearly 2 million of the 2.8 million unplanned pregnancies in the US). We have seen progress in recent years—as unplanned pregnancies have begun to decline—but more work remains to ensure that everyone has the power to decide.
Unlike many other health issues, unplanned pregnancy is completely preventable. Only 5% of unplanned pregnancies occurred in women using birth control carefully and consistently. The other 95% of unplanned pregnancies occur among women who don’t contraception or who use it inconsistently.
The reasons for this are complex, but it often comes down to a lack of access to the full range of contraceptive options. This is particularly important for people who face the greatest disparities in unplanned pregnancy. For example, the unplanned pregnancy rate remains higher for Black and Hispanic women than for white women, and these disparities remain even when controlling for income.
About the Title X Family Planning Program
For 50 years, the Title X family planning program has played a critical role in preventing unplanned pregnancy by offering high-quality contraceptive services, preventive screenings, and health education to low-income women and men. In addition to Medicaid, Title X is an important part of the health care safety net.
But regulations put in place by the Trump Administration (the Title X “domestic gag rule), and years of underfunding have made it harder for health centers supported by Title X to meet the demand for services. Take action now to help Title X.
FY 2021 (October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2021) - Status: Complete
On December 27, the President signed an omnibus appropriations bill, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021,” which funds the federal government through the end of FY 2021 on September 30, 2021. The bill also includes provisions that extend expiring health programs and provides some relief funding to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Importantly, the omnibus bill includes level funding ($286.5 million) for the Title X Family Planning Program.
Unfortunately, the bill does not eliminate the domestic gag rule or the Hyde Amendment. The gag rule has severely damaged the Title X Program and the Hyde amendment disproportionately harms people of color and people of low income, putting access to abortion care financially out of reach. We look forward to working to undo these harmful policies.
Please see Power to Decide’s full statement on the omnibus appropriations bill.
If haven’t already seen it, we encourage you to take a look at Power to Decide’s recommendations on how the next Administration can advance reproductive well-being.
TITLE X DOMESTIC GAG RULE
2019 Final Title X Domestic Gag Rule
In August 2019, the Trump Administration damaged the Title X program severely by enforcing the “domestic gag rule.” Put simply, the domestic gag rule has forced health centers that receive Title X funds to make an impossible choice—reject the Title X funds they need to support their patients who might not otherwise be able to afford family planning care or withhold some information from patients about abortion services, including where to access abortion care. Nationwide, more than 900 clinics have left the Title X program since the gag rule went into effect. Between 2018 and 2019 (when the gag rule went into effect) the Title X program served 844,000 fewer patients, a 21 percent decline in a single year.
Action by the Biden-Harris Administration and the 117th Congress
While legal challenges to the Title X gag rule continue (and the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case), the work to undo the rule must proceed. Fortunately, on January 28, 2021, President Biden instructed HHS to review the Title X gag rule and consider rescinding it. HHS has announced they will begin this process by April 15, 2021, and they aim to have the Title X gag rule replaced by Fall 2021.
Separate from the Appropriations process, in March 2020, the American Rescue Plan (P.L 117-2) included a one-time investment of $50 million in funding for Title X. This will help bring clinics back into the program once the domestic gag rule is replaced. These funds are not tied to the fiscal year and will be available until expended. (See Power to Decide's statement on the American Rescue Plan.)
For more information on the domestic gag rule, see:
- FY 2019 to FY 2021 Budget Chart
- Power to Decide's FY 2022 Appropriations Request Letter
- Federal Funding Streams at a Glance
- Power to Decide's 2021-22 Federal Policy Agenda
Title X Resources
- Impacts of the Domestic Gag Rule: People Most in Need Are Paying the Price
- State Responses to the Title X Domestic Gag Rule
- Power to Decide's full statement on the final gag rule.
- Fact Sheet: Key points on Title X
- Polling data: Shows widespread support for Title X
Key Points on Title X and Contraceptive Access
- 75% of adults favor continuing the Title X Program, including 66% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats.
- 78% of adults agree that birth control is a basic part of women’s health care.
- More than 90% of all Americans (across political parties, race, and ethnicity) agree that for those trying not to get pregnant, using birth control is taking personal responsibility.
- Ensuring women have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child improves educational attainment and family well being, saves taxpayer dollars, and reduces abortion.