(MEDIA ADVISORY) By a vote of 230-188, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to rescind a rule protecting health care for patients who rely on federal funding for family planning services like birth control and cancer screening through the Title X program. In voting to rescind the rule—which was issued by the Obama Administration in December 2016—the House is paving the way for state politicians to block women from getting care they need from highly qualified reproductive health care providers.
The measure now heads to the Senate, which is expected to consider rescinding the rule in the coming weeks.
“Politicians in Congress have elevated ideology over public health today—with women and families left to pay the price,” Said Amy Friedrich-Karnik, Senior Federal Policy Adviser at the Center for Reproductive Rights
“Congress should be working to advance access to health care, but instead politicians opposed to women’s health are determined to drive it further out of reach for millions of women in our most vulnerable communities.”
In the past few years, an increasing number of states have tried to block trusted reproductive health care providers—including providers that offer abortion care with non-Title X dollars—from participating in Title X. Since 2011, at least 13 states in which Title X funds flow through the state government have approved restrictions that would exclude qualified providers from the Title X network. Mounting evidence shows that the exclusion of reproductive health care providers from publicly funded health programs harms health outcomes, widens disparities, and erects new barriers to care. These barriers are particularly pronounced for those who are already have trouble accessing care—including low-income individuals, people living in rural communities, and people of color.
In response to these political attempts to restrict where a woman can get her health care, President Obama issued the rule last year reinforcing that Title X grantees—which in many cases are states–must select subrecipients solely based on their ability to provide care to Title X patients—not based on the political preferences of state lawmakers. The Center for Reproductive Rights submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in support of the rule last October.
Today’s vote comes less than one month after the House passed a measure which would permanently ban abortion coverage for millions of American women.