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U.S. Senator Alex Padilla Introduces Legislation to Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Funding

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Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and a group of their Democratic colleagues in introducing the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act. The bill would protect access to critical reproductive health care services—including birth control, cancer screenings and more—by providing a consistent and strong source of funding for the Title X Family Planning Program.

The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning and preventive health services. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rely on the program for essential health care. In 2020 alone, over 1.5 million patients received family planning services through Title X. Title X is funded through the annual appropriations process, which subjects the program to an unpredictable funding stream that is insufficient to meet the national need. The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would provide a consistent and strong source of funding for Title X.

“The attacks on reproductive health care and abortion services we are seeing in our country right now are nothing short of a public health emergency that will disproportionately impact our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including low-income individuals, women, and people of color,” said Senator Padilla. “We must do everything in our power to support those seeking reproductive health care and family planning resources by providing strong funding streams for Title X Family Planning Programs. This legislation will ensure that millions of Americans continue to have access to birth control, cancer screenings and other critical health care services tied to Title X funding.”

“At a time when Americans’ reproductive freedoms are under attack from extremist Republicans, the Title X Family Planning Program is more important than ever,” said Senator Smith. “Title X funding provides American women with access to critical reproductive health services. I invite all my Republican colleagues who claim to champion family planning services to join us in supporting this commonsense legislation that will protect women’s access to birth control, pregnancy counseling, basic infertility services, and more.”

“Our legislation will strengthen Title X to help more patients get the birth control they need, the cervical and breast cancer screenings that could save their life, and the support they need to plan a family on their own terms,” said Senator Murray. “I’d just ask all of my Republican colleagues—who have been loudly talking about supporting women and have been using their so-called support for family planning to cover up their extreme agenda—what is your word worth? Will you actually support women—and help them get the birth control they need? On Thursday, women across the country will be watching closely.”

“All across this country, Americans are facing rampant attacks on their reproductive freedom, emboldened by the extremist Supreme Court and radical right-wing politicians,” said Senator Warren. “In the face of these attacks, we must strengthen and expand the Title X Family Planning Program, which ensures access to contraception, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and other essential health care. If Republicans really support women and families, as they claim, they should join us.”

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The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would:

  • Provide $500 million in mandatory funding for Title X services for each of the next 10 fiscal years.  This is well above the $286 million the program received in FY2022 discretionary appropriations.
  • Deliver $50 million in mandatory funding for clinic construction, renovation, and related infrastructure enhancements for each of the next 10 fiscal years.
  • Reinstate regulations prohibiting discrimination of providers who deliver Title X services.
  • Require that pregnancy counseling include information about prenatal care and delivery, infant care, foster care, adoption, and pregnancy termination, unless a patient does not have any interest in receiving information about an option.

Padilla is a champion for reproductive rights and is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would guarantee access and the right to provide abortion services in the United States, and a cosponsor of the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022,  which would make clear that it is illegal for anti-choice states to limit travel for abortion services. He also urged President Biden to prioritize health equity for people of color, and low-income, immigrant, and tribal communities in any executive actions to address the recent Dobbs decision, and he is leading the effort calling on the Biden administration to immediately declare national and public health emergencies over Americans’ lack of access to reproductive care.

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