Massachusetts Planned Parenthood sees disregard for women’s health


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Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts described President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold federal funding from organizations that perform abortions as the “worst political attack” on women’s health in a generation.

Some 67,293 people in Massachusetts rely on the program each year for birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other preventive care, according to Planned Parenthood.

“People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and this bill is just the latest example. Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and chief executive officer of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.

She added in her statement: “Women marched in historic numbers the day after the inauguration because they feared the worst. Their worst fears are now coming true. We are facing the worst political attack on women’s health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women’s health and rights at every turn.”

Federal law already prevents government funding of abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or to save a woman’s life.

However, the legislation signed by Trump, and passed by Congress with the tie-breaker vote of Vice President Mick Pence in the Senate, is aimed at reversing recently enacted Department of Health and Human Services regulations under the Obama Administration that prevented states and municipalities from withholding federal funding from qualified health providers for family planning services whether or not those providers performed abortions.

State courts have ruled against restrictions on Medicaid reimbursements for non-abortion related family planning services to health care providers like Planned Parenthood. However, Title X funds, meant to ensure low-income women have access to family planning and related preventative health services, are distributed as grants to states who thus have more control over how these grants are distributed.

Childs-Roshak’s statement was contained within a release that referenced how the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act would have made reproductive health care more expensive and less accessible for many women, along with similar recent legislative actions restricting access to family planning.

“We should build on the tremendous progress made in this country with expanded access to birth control, instead of enacting policies that take us backwards. Too many women still face barriers to health care, especially young women, women of color, those who live in rural areas, and women with low incomes,” Childs-Roshak said.

According to Planned Parenthood, the Title X family planning program enabled health centers to do 800,000 Pap tests, provide one million women with breast exams and perform six million tests for sexually transmitted diseases in 2015.