The American Humanist Association has signed the below letter to the Office of Management and Budget asking for an increase in funding to domestic and international family planning programs in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget request. The coalition of signers was put together by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A PDF version of the letter can be found here.
December 14, 2012
The Honorable Jeffrey Zients
Deputy Director for Management
The Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Mr. Zients:
The President’s strong support for women’s health in his first term and pledge for continued leadership in his second term have won broad and demonstrated approval from the American public. Building upon that, we urge the President to make women’s health a priority in his fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request by increasing funding for family planning programs at home and abroad. Investments in women’s health through the United States (U.S.) Title X family planning program and through our international family planning and reproductive health program at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as through our nation’s contribution to United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA), pay strong dividends for women’s health and economic and global development goals. We applaud the President’s recognition that women’s health and rights are a national priority. The President’s leadership has been vital to making progress for women and families amidst unprecedented opposition, and we look forward to a renewed commitment moving forward.
Increasing support for Title X – America’s Family Planning Program
Title X is a vital component of our nation’s health care infrastructure and a fundamental part of building a women’s health care delivery system to meet the growing demand for care under the health care reform law. Serving nearly five million low-income individuals annually at more than 4,500 health centers, the Title X program is highly effective—helping to prevent nearly one million unintended pregnancies each year, and supporting more women in making healthy decisions for themselves and their families. Six in ten women who receive care at a women’s health center consider it to be their main source of health care.1 And for four in ten women served by a women’s health center, it is their only source of care.2 Title X clinics are a much needed support for women of color who lack access to care; 28% of Title X clinic clients are Latinas3 and 20% self-identify as Black.4 The reality is that Title X providers are fundamental to the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—and additional funding is necessary in order for them to meet the increased demand for care.
The current Title X program funding level of $294 million is simply insufficient to meet the needs of the approximately 12.8 million women of reproductive age who will become newly eligible for insurance under the ACA and the millions more who will remain uninsured.5 Title X will continue to be necessary to fill gaps in coverage, including gaps caused by some states potentially denying people access to Medicaid coverage under the ACA. The reality is that Title X is an extremely effective program—not only saving lives but also saving tax payer money. For every dollar of public funding invested in family planning, approximately $4 is saved.6A commitment to increase Title X funding by $33 million in FY 2014 will strengthen America’s family planning program and America’s health care system, and allow women to live healthier lives.
In addition, we request increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) sexually transmitted diseases (STD) prevention programs, including the Infertility Prevention Project, a cost-effective public health investment that provides critical health care services to help women and men plan for their families. Untreated chlamydia is the leading cause of preventable infertility, and despite CDC recommendations for routine screening, many sexually active women are not tested for chlamydia, in part because of limited resources for screening. Integrated family planning services with screening and treatment for STDs is an essential part of planning for a healthy pregnancy that will improve the lives of women across the country.
International Family Planning and Reproductive Health
Globally, 222 million women want to delay or prevent pregnancy but do not have access to modern contraceptive methods. The U.S. has been the leading donor for international family planning programs and our cost-effective investments have a critical impact on a broad range of health outcomes, including reducing unintended pregnancy, maternal mortality, infant and child mortality, and mother to child HIV transmission. According to research by the Guttmacher Institute, current U.S. investments of $610 million, including $35 million for UNFPA, have a profound impact: they support 31.6 million women and couples in receiving contraceptive services and supplies; they prevent 9.4 million unintended pregnancies which would result in 4 million abortions, of which 3 million would have been unsafe; and they avert 22,000 maternal deaths.7
The global community has recognized and prioritized family planning as well: this past summer at the London Summit on Family Planning, leaders from around the world, including donors, governments from developing countries, and civil society organizations made commitments to reach by 2020 the needs of an additional 120 million women who lack access to modern, voluntary family planning methods. This Summit built on a growing commitment to women’s health worldwide—from progress made at the most recent Commission on Population and Development meeting to the United Nations Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative. U.S. leadership is vital in supporting this global momentum. The U.S. should provide an annual investment of $1 billion to international family planning, including $65 million to UNFPA.
Both the Title X and the international family planning and reproductive health programs have faced politically motivated attacks and resulting decreased and stagnated funding over the last few years. In order to reverse this trend, we ask the President to redouble his vital support for women’s health.
Advocates for Youth
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Humanist Association
American Medical Student Association
American Social Health Association
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)
Better World Campaign
Catholics for Choice
The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
Center for Reproductive Rights
Family Care International
Feminist Majority Foundation
Friends of UNFPA
General Board of Church & Society, The United Methodist Church
Global Justice Institute
International Women’s Health Coalition
Jewish Women International
John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
Management Sciences for Health (MSH)
Metropolitan Community Churches
Methodist Federation for Social Action
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Women’s Organizations
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Action International
Public Health Institute
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Reproductive Health Technologies Project
The Sierra Club
Union for Reform Judaism
Universal Access Project
WIN (Women’s Information Network)
Women of Reform Judaism
1 Guttmacher Institute. Frost, J. Contraceptive Needs and Services: National and State Data, 2008 Update. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/win/contraceptive-needs-2008.pdf
2 Guttmacher Institute. Frost, J. Specialized Family Planning Clinics in the United States: Why Women Choose Them and Their Role in Meeting Women’s Health Care Needs. 2012.
3 National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Title X: An Essential Health Care Program for Latinas. 2010.
4 National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. Title X Policy Brief: Increasing Access to Preventive Care for Undeserved Populations. 2012. http://www.nationalfamilyplanning.org/document.doc?id=514
5 Kaiser Family Foundation. Focus on Health Reform: Access to Abortion Coverage and Health Reform. November 2010. http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8021.pdf
6 Frost, J. et.al.The Impact of Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinic Services on Unintended Pregnancies and Government Cost Savings Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 2008 http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/09_HPU19.3Frost.pdf
7 Guttmacher Institute. Just the Numbers: The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance. May 2012.