Passed in 1970, Title X [“Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs (Public Law 91-572)] is the only federal grant program that provides funding to provide citizens, men and women, with comprehensive family planning services and other related services. Low-income families are just one group of many millions that benefit from this program.
Our Springfield Planned Parenthood provides family planning services along with women’s health services (contraception and pregnancy testing) such as: breast and ovarian cancer screenings, preventative care for cervical cancer, female infertility, menopause, UTIs, etc. For women and men of all ages, the services provided are affordable and beneficial to their health.
I do not know a single person who has not benefitted from our local Planned Parenthood. Initially, I came into contact with Planned Parenthood in my hometown of Joplin. I was provided affordable birth control and counseling services that were a great benefit to my health and everyday life. I am one of millions of women who have taken advantage of these services and when I made the move to Springfield, I was treated to the same wonderful service that I sought in Joplin. I bring this up because as of next week, Congress will meet to discuss whether or not Title X should continue to be funded by the government or not. With the elimination of this program, our community will lose one of our most valuable assets. Not only will Springfield will lose a partner in health, but 85 regions that preside over 820 health centers will face the the same issue. These resources are utilized by more than 1.2 million young people. “Because of programs like Title X.” says Crystal Brigman, organizer for PPSWMO, “PPSLR and SWMO are able to provide all of our services according to sliding fees/subsidized care for those most in need. The loss of Title X in MO will be devastating to the women who are most at risk, in the lowest income categories.”
Grants supporting Title X not only go to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, but also “more than 4500 community-based clinics that include State and local health departments, tribal organizations, hospitals, university health centers, independent clinics, community health centers, faith-based organizations, and other public and private nonprofit agencies” (US Department of Health & Human Services, Family Planning). That is a large number of services affected and adequate healthcare cannot continue without these facilities.
If the right side of the political agenda is so “for the family”, then why would any representative be so against funding for family planning? It comes back to the hot-button issue of abortion services. Perhaps instead of focusing on one issue, they should be fighting to keep our health costs low and providing more services to not only low-income citizens, but all citizens regardless of class, age, gender, religion, and political ideology. Our local Planned Parenthood does not provide abortion services. True, they do provide abortion referrals, but the facility is not licensed to perform the procedure. Of all the clinics in Southwest Missouri, only two clinics perform abortions.
It is our right not only as women but as people to retain access to comprehensive healthcare. If you support Planned Parenthood of SWMO, please visit their website to sign a petition to end the attacks on their services. You can also access information on how to volunteer. Now more than ever it is more important to fight for our choices as women.
Planned Parenthood will have a table at the KGBX Women’s Show on February 26th. Stop by and show your support!