Family planning

Save Federal Family Planning Funds | Seattle weather

Affordable reproductive health and family planning resources shouldn’t be controversial, but in recent years these vital services have become collateral damage in culture wars.

This is why US Senator Patty Murray’s efforts to restore federal Title X funding for family planning are so important. Until abortion opponents tire of using the subsidy program as a substitute in their fight against safe and legal abortion, it will take champions like Murray to protect funding for women’s access to low income to contraception, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, cancer screening and other care.

Last week, Murray, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, announced $4.5 million in new Title X funding for Washington. It’s a welcome infusion of federal aid three years after political interference led the state to temporarily withdraw from the federal grant program.

Although Title X money was never used to fund abortion, in February 2019, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting clinics receiving federal Title X funding from referring patients or share offices with abortion providers. In response, Governor Jay Inslee headed the state Department of Health to refuse the funding, which was then one-third of the state’s family planning budget, serving nearly 100,000 women across the state.

Washington joined the Title X Network after President Joe Biden ended restrictions last October. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over. Thirty-three Republican senators, including Jim Risch and Mike Crapo of Idaho, filed a joint resolution last month attempt to reinstate Trump-era restrictions.

“It’s not going away,” Murray said. “This is a fight for our generation.”

With abortion rights under siege in red states across the country, supporting sexual health education and pregnancy prevention is more important than ever. Society benefits when low-income women can access the tools to control if and when to have children. And women’s health should not depend on political whims.