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Public Statements

Elimination of Title X Funding

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Madam Speaker, it has been 6 weeks now since Republicans assumed control of the House of Representatives, and we have yet to see a single job-creation bill brought to the House floor.

Indeed, just last week we spent roughly 10 hours debating a primary function of Congress, that of congressional oversight, something we already do. Yet still no legislation brought forward to spur job creation.

But while the Republican Congress has yet to bring forward a jobs agenda, they have found plenty of time to bring forward an extreme anti-woman agenda. Just recently we saw the introduction of H.R. 3, legislation that originally sought to redefine the definition of rape. Yes, that's right, legislation that would change rape from acting without a woman's consent to instead require women to prove force was used in order to prove rape.

It remains to be seen whether Republicans working on this legislation have shelved their plans to redefine rape and whether they will revise the language in H.R. 3. Still, 163 Republicans signed on as cosponsors of the bill with the forcible rape language included.

But the extreme anti-woman agenda doesn't stop with attempting to redefine rape. This week the House will vote on an amendment introduced by Representative Mike Pence that would eliminate family planning and lifesaving preventive care to millions of individuals each year. Mr. Pence's amendment does this by eliminating title X funding.

Since 1970, the title X family planning program has been a key component of our Nation's health care infrastructure and an essential element in the winning strategy to reduce unintended pregnancies. Efforts to cut the title X program would take away funding from essential women's health care providers like Planned Parenthood.

Today, title X serves over 5 million low-income individuals every year. In every State, women and men rely on title X for basic primary and preventive health care, including annual exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

In fact, in 2009 alone, title X providers performed 2.2 million Pap tests, 2.3 million breast exams, and over 6 million tests for sexually transmitted diseases including nearly 1 million HIV tests.

And preventive care isn't limited to cancer screenings and education on how to avoid STDs. Title X actually reduces the number of abortions. In fact, title X services help prevent nearly 1 million unintended pregnancies each year, almost half of which would otherwise end in abortion.

Planned Parenthood and the title X program provide vital family planning services which help improve the life of the mother and the child. Indeed, family planning keeps women and children healthy. Studies have shown that when women have better access to family planning, it leads to healthier outcomes for both mother and child.

When women plan their pregnancies, they are more likely to seek prenatal care, improving their own health and the health of their children. In fact, access to family planning is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality rates.

Eliminating the national family plan program will result in millions of women across the country losing access to basic primary and preventative health care and to the providers that offer these services. Without title X, more women will experience unintended pregnancies and face potentially life-threatening cancer and other diseases that could have been prevented.

The simple fact is that this proposal is anti-woman and anti-family.

Now, I know that we're all interested in finding ways to cut Federal spending, and Representative Pence's amendment to eliminate funding for title X is framed in the context of fiscal responsibility.

But even more important than cutting spending is asking the question, are we reducing the deficit? Unfortunately, the answer to whether the Pence amendment would also cut the deficit is ``no.'' That's because title X actually saves taxpayer dollars. Since many of the patients served by title X are on Medicaid, preventative care like cancer screenings and contraceptive counseling actually means fewer costs to the taxpayer in the long run. Indeed, for every public dollar invested in family planning, $3.74 is saved in Medicaid-related costs. That's savings to both Federal and State governments.

Every year, Planned Parenthood works tirelessly to help to improve the health of communities across this country. Efforts to undermine the title X program and this essential health care provider are not only reckless, they are also anti-woman, anti-child, and anti-taxpayer.

Can we please stop the relentless attack on women, stop pursuing the divisive anti-woman legislation and focus on job creation and spurring economic growth once and for all?

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