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Letter to The Honorable Tom Harkin, Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and The Honorable Arlen Specter, Ranking Member


Letter to The Honorable Tom Harkin, Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and The Honorable Arlen Specter, Ranking Member

Boxer Leads Call to Increase Funding for Family Planning Programs under Title X

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today led a group of 22 Senators in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education requesting the committee increase funding for family planning programs to $700 million in FY2010. Title X is the only federal program entirely dedicated to supporting family planning services, and it serves over five million women each year.

The text of the letter follows:

The Honorable Tom Harkin The Honorable Arlen Specter
Chairman Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Appropriations Subcommittee on
Labor, Health and Human Services, Labor, Health and Human Services,
and Education and Education
131 Dirksen Senate Office Building 156 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Specter:

As you begin work on the FY 2010 appropriations bills, we are writing to request that you include the Title X national family planning program in your list of funding priorities for FY 2010 and to ask that it be funded at $700 million. While the FY 2009 Title X increase of $7.5 million to $307.5 million is a step in the right direction, it does not begin to address the inadequate funding over the past 28 years. In fact, had funding for the Title X program kept up with the rate of inflation since 1980, it would have been funded at $787 million last year. Years of stagnant funding have left this program without the resources needed to keep up with medical inflation, increased demand for services, and new technologies to better allow clients to meet their basic primary health care needs.

Widespread use of birth control continues to be a critical component of basic preventive health care for women and has been the driving force in reducing national rates of unintended pregnancies, STDs, and abortion. Contraceptive use has also led to dramatic declines in maternal and infant mortality rates and has vastly improved maternal and infant health. Publicly supported family planning services, such as Title X funded clinics, help women plan the number and timing of their pregnancies, thereby helping to prevent approximately 1.3 million unplanned pregnancies each year - nearly half of which would end in abortion.

Today, almost 17.5 million women need publicly supported contraceptive care -- a number which continues to grow. Many of these women rely on Title X to provide high-quality family planning services and other preventive health care they could otherwise not afford and likely would not get. In addition to providing contraceptive services and supplies, Title X clinics provide other basic preventive health services. In 2006, Title X-funded clinics provided 2.5 million Pap tests, 2.4 million breast exams, 5.2 million STD tests, and 652,426 confidential HIV tests.

Title X is one of the nation's best and most cost-effective public health success stories. Unfortunately, without additional funding Title X clinics will be unable to meet the growing demand for care and provide quality preventive services, such as rapid HIV tests and chlamydia screening.

While we are mindful of the many competing budget priorities, we urge you to invest in programs like Title X that promote public health and at the same time save scarce public health dollars. For every public dollar invested in family planning, $4.02 is saved in Medicaid costs for pregnancy and newborn care alone. Please include Title X in your list of funding priorities and allocate $700 million in funding in FY 2010 as a minimal investment in cost-effective health care for low-income women and men. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Bernard Sanders
United States Senator

Robert Menendez
United States Senator

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

John F. Kerry
United States Senator

Tim Johnson
United States Senator

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

Frank R. Lautenberg
United States Senator

Russell D. Feingold
United States Senator

Mark Begich
United States Senator

Carl Levin
United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator

Edward M. Kennedy
United States Senator

Jeff Bingaman
United States Senator

Herb Kohl
United States Senator

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

Ron Wyden
United States Senator

Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator

Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator

Christopher J. Dodd
United States Senator

Blanche L. Lincoln
United States Senator

Sherrod Brown
United States Senator

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator


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