Testimony on S.B. 274: An Act Concerning Increased Funding To Planned Parenthood And Other Family Planning Clinics

Human Services Committee

March 5, 2020

Submitted By: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

The National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter representing over 2,400 members supports S.B. 274. Title X provides for essential health care services to low income individuals and it is imperative that such services continue to be funded, through state dollars as necessary.

Data from Planned Parenthood of Southern New England reports that in 2016, an estimated 180,670 women in Connecticut needed publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies. Women that year who received publicly funded Title X contraceptives and supplies were able to postpone or avoid 7,420 unintended pregnancies and 2,510 abortions. Screening and vaccination services from Title X clinics in Connecticut helped patients avoid an estimated 430 cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea. Services provided by Title X clinics in Connecticut in 2016 led to a net savings of $60 million in state and federal funds.

Planned Parenthood and other Title X health clinics in Connecticut provide an indispensable role in family planning services. Planned Parenthood of Southern New England alone in 2018 served over 41,000 Title X patients. Of these patients, 64% were at or below 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and 54% identified as persons of color. Both women and men are served by Title X health clinics and for many of these patients without Title X clinics they would not receive low cost or free (for those at or below 100% of the FPL) basic care like birth control, STI/STD testing and life-saving cancer screenings.

Title X funding has existed for nearly 50 years and throughout that period has in Connecticut had strong bi-partisan support, and the same has been true in Congress. Title X clinics are on the front line of fighting health care inequities by serving populations that have been, and all too often remain underserved, such as persons of color, low income households, LGBTQ and immigrants. These populations are Connecticut residents who deserve and have the right to high quality, affordable family planning and reproductive health care services that Title X clinics so well provide.

To now qualify for Title X federal funding requires health care providers to refuse to provide information on abortion services. This is unethical and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and other Title X clinics in our state have rightfully refused to withhold health care information to their patients. We are asking the CT Legislature to stand with these Title X clinics by funding them in a manner that offsets the loss of federal funds until such time that the federal government rescinds the current “gag rules, and restores its original purposes.

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