Birth control is extremely expensive for the uninsured and those underage. Health exams such as cancer and STD screenings are inaccessible to the underprivileged. Sex education programs throughout the United States are dangerously flawed. These are the hard facts that women across the country must face on a day-to-day basis, and a new proposal may make things even worse. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies is attempting to pass a bill that will prevent women from accessing vital and often life-saving heathcare services. We’re just as disappointed as you are.
The proposal intends to cut the funding for—and thus permanently end—the Title X Family Planning program, which is used to provide women with the tools and advice necessary to make educated and informed decisions about their own health and the health of any future children they choose to bring into the world. Title X funds birth control, exams and screenings, sex education programs, pregnancy prevention initiatives and other family planning measures. Most often serving impoverished, adolescent, uninsured and minority individuals, Title X is absolutely neccessary if we want all women, and especially teens, to have access to affordable and safe healthcare. With recent declines in teen pregnancy rates, women’s rights activists have been very hopeful about the future of women’s healthcare. But with the possibility of such an extreme drawback, all of that progress could be lost, or worse, reversed.
What’s most unsettling about the proposal is how misguided it appears to be. Even without considering a possible reversal of healthcare advancements, the bill would still negatively affect a whopping 4.6 million people. Financially speaking, the bill makes no sense according to Glamour.com and the Guttmacher Institute—we currently save $7 for every $1 invested in family planning services. Aren’t fund cuts supposed to save money? Considering the fact that the bill would make healthcare access extremely unaffordable for a large portion of our population, we aren’t sure who this is helping.
While the bill is currently just a proposal, it’s extremely important to stay informed and active regarding the issue. Change happens when it’s backed by voices, so whether you’re for or against this, it’s always best to say so.