March 08, 2021

Senators Hassan, Warren and Representatives Chu, DeGette, and Lee Call for Restoring Full Family Planning Funding by Rescinding Former Administration’s Title X Policies

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Representative Judy Chu (D-CA), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) led more than 150 of their colleagues in urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind the former administration’s Title X policies that severely curtailed access to vital family planning and sexual health services.

 

As directed by President Biden at the beginning of his presidency, HHS is undergoing a review of the Title X rules issued under the Trump administration. “We believe that this review will make clear that the changes made to the Title X program resulted in numerous harms to patients and community health, and that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates immediate rescission of the current rule,” wrote the Members of Congress.

 

They discussed the harm that the current rules have caused. “Title X is the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services, and it is essential we restore the capacity of this vital program… Unfortunately, the predictions of curtailed access to critical family planning and sexual health services have proven correct: more than 1,000 health centers withdrew from the program following the rule’s implementation; 844,083 fewer patients received Title X-funded services in 2019 than did in 2018; six states have no Title X-funded health centers; and providers and community members across the country have struggled to maintain access to care under the onerous terms of the rule.”

 

The Members of Congress continued, “Rebuilding the Title X program, which cannot begin until the rule is rescinded, is one of the most important ways that the Biden administration can support access to family planning and other essential health care services during this challenging time for our country.”

 

Read the Senators and Representatives’ full letter here or below, including a full list of signatories.

 

Dear Secretary Cochran:

 

We write to encourage you to swiftly complete your review of the current regulations (42 CFR Part 59) for the Title X family planning program, as directed by President Biden in his January 28, 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad. As you know, the memorandum directs HHS to “consider, as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act.”[1] We believe that this review will make clear that the changes made to the Title X program resulted in numerous harms to patients and community health, and that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates immediate rescission of the current rule. We urge you to complete the rescission no later than March 29, 60 days after the president issued the presidential memorandum. 

 

Title X is the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services, and it is essential we restore the capacity of this vital program. The Trump administration pushed forward the 2019 rule over the objections of many major medical and public health organizations, 218 members of Congress, and tens of thousands of members of the public.[2] Experts in medicine, law, public health, and reproductive health, rights, and justice argued that the rule was both unlawful and one of the greatest threats to access to family planning in the United States in a generation. Unfortunately, the predictions of curtailed access to critical family planning and sexual health services have proven correct: more than 1,000 health centers withdrew from the program following the rule’s implementation; 844,083 fewer patients received Title X-funded services in 2019 than did in 2018;[3] six states have no Title X-funded health centers; and providers and community members across the country have struggled to maintain access to care under the onerous terms of the rule. Every day that the rule remains in effect is another day that access to family planning services for people with low or no incomes is under threat.

 

The rule’s rescission is particularly urgent in light of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the public health safety net, of which Title X providers are a key part. The Title X program disproportionately serves communities of color and people with low incomes,[4] and failure to act will only serve to compound the devastating impact the pandemic is having on these communities. In addition, a 2020 study found that the pandemic has led many women to want to delay or prevent pregnancy even as it has made it more difficult for people to access family planning and sexual health care, including contraception. Both of these findings were strongest for women of color and women with low incomes.[5] Rebuilding the Title X program, which cannot begin until the rule is rescinded, is one of the most important ways that the Biden administration can support access to family planning and other essential health care services during this challenging time for our country.

             

Finally, we know that President Biden stands firmly behind efforts to rescind the rule. During the presidential campaign, he pledged to undo the Trump administration’s rule,[6] and he prioritized this issue as one to address during his first ten days in office.

 

We urge you to work with all possible speed to complete your review of the program and move to quickly rescind the rule and reinstate the previous regulations that governed the program. We look forward to remaining updated on your progress in the weeks to come.

 

Sincerely,

 

Senator Margaret Wood Hassan

Representative Judy Chu

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Representative Diana DeGette

Representative Barbara Lee

Representative Alma Adams

Representative Colin Allred

Representative Jake Auchincloss

Representative Cindy Axne

Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán

Representative Ami Bera, M.D.

Representative Donald S. Beyer Jr.

Representative Earl Blumenauer

Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester

Representative Suzanne Bonamici

Representative Jamaal Bowman, Ed. D.

Representative Brendan F. Boyle

Representative Julia Brownley

Representative Salud Carbajal

Representative Tony Cárdenas

Representative Andre' Carson

Representative Matt Cartwright

Representative Sean Casten

Representative Kathy Castor

Representative Joaquin Castro

Representative David N. Cicilline

Representative Katherine Clark

Representative Yvette D. Clarke

Representative Gerald E. Connolly

Representative Jim Cooper

Representative Jason Crow

Representative Danny K. Davis

Representative Madeleine Dean

Representative Peter A. DeFazio

Representative Suzan DelBene

Representative Theodore E. Deutch

Representative Lloyd Doggett

Representative Mike Doyle

Representative Adriano Espaillat

Representative Dwight Evans

Representative Lizzie Fletcher

Representative Bill Foster

Representative Lois Frankel

Representative Ruben Gallego

Representative Sylvia R. Garcia

Representative Jesús G. "Chuy" García

Representative Alcee L. Hastings

Representative Jahana Hayes

Representative Brian Higgins

Representative Jim Himes

Representative Chrissy Houlahan

Representative Jared Huffman

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representative Pramila Jayapal

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson

Representative Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.

Representative Mondaire Jones

Representative Kaiali?i Kahele

Representative Ro Khanna

Representative Daniel T. Kildee

Representative Derek Kilmer

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi

Representative Ann McLane Kuster

Representative Brenda L. Lawrence

Representative Al Lawson

Representative Andy Levin

Representative Mike Levin

Representative Ted W. Lieu

Representative Alan Lowenthal

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney

Representative Kathy Manning

Representative Betty McCollum

Representative James P. McGovern

Representative Jerry McNerney

Representative Grace Meng

Representative Gwen Moore

Representative Jerrold Nadler

Representative Grace F. Napolitano

Representative Marie Newman

Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representative Tom O'Halleran

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Representative Ilhan Omar

Representative Chris Pappas

Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Representative Ed Perlmutter

Representative Chellie Pingree

Representative Stacey E. Plaskett

Representative Mark Pocan

Representative Katie Porter

Representative Ayanna Pressley

Representative David E. Price

Representative Jamie Raskin

Representative Kathleen M. Rice

Representative Deborah Ross

Representative Bobby L. Rush

Representative Linda T. Sánchez

Representative John P. Sarbanes

Representative Mary Gay Scanlon

Representative Jan Schakowsky

Representative Kim Schrier, M.D.

Representative Brad Sherman

Representative Albio Sires

Representative Adam Smith

Representative Jackie Speier

Representative Marilyn Strickland

Representative Thomas R Suozzi

Representative Mark Takano

Representative Dina Titus

Representative Norma J. Torres

Representative Marc A. Veasey

Representative Nydia M. Velázquez

Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman

Representative Peter Welch

Representative Jennifer Wexton

Representative Susan Wild

Representative John Yarmuth

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Senator Michael F. Bennet

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Senator Cory A. Booker

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Senator Richard J. Durbin

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Mazie K. Hirono

Senator Angus S. King, Jr.

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Edward J. Markey

Senator Robert Menendez

Senator Jeffrey A. Merkley

Senator Christopher S. Murphy

Senator Jon Tester

Senator Alex Padilla

Senator Jacky Rosen

Senator Bernard Sanders

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Senator Tina Smith

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Chris Van Hollen

Senator Ron Wyden

Senator Raphael Warnock

Senator Tim Kaine

Senator Jack Reed

Representative Nikema Williams

Senator Ben Ray Luján

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Representative Darren Soto

Representative Scott Peters

Representative Bradley S. Schneider

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Gary C. Peters

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Representative Brad Schneider

Senator Amy Klobuchar

Representative Rosa L. DeLauro

Representative Cori Bush

Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux

 

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