Smith, Murray, Warren Roll Out New Family Planning Bill, Announce Floor Effort THURSDAY
***WATCH: Senators Smith, Murray roll out bill at press conference***
Senators’ Expanding Access to Family Planning Act Would Provide Consistent Funding for the Title X Family Planning Program
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a group of their Democratic colleagues in introducing the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act. The bill would protect access to critical reproductive health care services—like birth control, cancer screenings, and more—by providing a consistent and strong source of funding for the Title X Family Planning Program.
The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning and preventive health services. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rely on the program for essential health care. In 2020 alone, over 1.5 million patients received family planning services through Title X. Title X is funded through the annual appropriations process, which subjects the program to an unpredictable funding stream that is insufficient to meet the national need. The Senators’ Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would provide a consistent and strong source of funding for Title X.
“At a time when Americans’ reproductive freedoms are under attack from extremist Republicans, the Title X Family Planning Program is more important than ever,” said Senator Smith. “Title X funding provides American women with access to critical reproductive health services. I invite all my Republican colleagues who claim to champion family planning services to join us in supporting this commonsense legislation that will protect women’s access to birth control, pregnancy counseling, basic infertility services, and more.”
“Our legislation will strengthen Title X to help more patients get the birth control they need, the cervical and breast cancer screenings that could save their life, and the support they need to plan a family on their own terms,” said Senator Murray. “I’d just ask all of my Republican colleagues—who have been loudly talking about supporting women and have been using their so-called support for family planning to cover up their extreme agenda—what is your word worth? Will you actually support women—and help them get the birth control they need? On Thursday, women across the country will be watching closely.”
“All across this country, Americans are facing rampant attacks on their reproductive freedom, emboldened by the extremist Supreme Court and radical right-wing politicians,” said Senator Warren. “In the face of these attacks, we must strengthen and expand the Title X Family Planning Program, which ensures access to contraception, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and other essential health care. If Republicans really support women and families, as they claim, they should join us.”
The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would:
- Provide $500 million in mandatory funding for Title X services for each of the next 10 fiscal years. This is well above the $286 million the program received in FY2022.
- Deliver $50 million in mandatory funding for clinic construction, renovation, and related infrastructure enhancements for each of the next 10 fiscal years.
- Reinstate regulations prohibiting discrimination of providers who deliver Title X services.
- Require that pregnancy counseling include information about prenatal care and delivery, infant care, foster care, adoption, and pregnancy termination, unless a patient does not have any interest in receiving information about an option.
In addition to Senators Smith, Murray, and Warren, the legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Angus King (I-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
The bill is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Catholics for Choice, the National Partnership for Women & Families, Power to Decide, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Council of Jewish Women, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, ACLU, Advocates for Youth, National Women’s Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Center for American Progress.
Senator Murray’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:
“You know, in the weeks since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, since Republicans ripped away women’s right to decide for themselves whether or not to keep a pregnancy, we have heard a lot of talk from Republicans about how they want to support women and families. We’ve heard about how they are—somehow, in some way or another—the party that supports families.
“Our Republican colleagues have paid lip-service to the notion of supporting women in this new, post-Roe era they have ushered in.
“After Roe was overturned, Senator Grassley said, “We have to start thinking in terms of some of these things, to be more supportive of families and mothers.”
“Congresswoman Nancy Mace recently said, “Republicans are compassionate. We do care about family planning.”
“Senator Rounds has said, “It’s not just a matter of saying, ‘We are pro-life.’ It’s a matter, then, of promoting and allowing these people who are making very difficult decisions with their lives to make sure we can help.”
“And just last week, at a hearing I chaired on how the Dobbs’ decision threatens women’s health, Senator Marshall proudly stated that “family planning opportunities need to be expanded” and he promised to continue supporting “robust funding.”
“Now, we’re doing something very simple.
“We are simply asking our Republican colleagues to make good on their so-far hollow words by supporting women and families—and expanding access to family planning.
“Our bill is straightforward—and really, it’s a no-brainer.
“In the wake of the Dobbs decision, we want to expand access to family planning services for people all across the country by investing in the Title X program.
“And that’s exactly what the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act will do.
“Our legislation will strengthen Title X to help more patients get the birth control they need, the STI testing and treatment they count on, the cervical and breast cancer screenings that could save their life, and the support they need to plan a family on their own terms.
“And if Republicans are serious about their promises to support women, protect their health, and invest in policies to lift families up, they will join us, strengthen the Title X program, and help get people the family planning and lifesaving health services they need.
“This should not be controversial.
“The Title X program has—historically—had broad, bipartisan support.
“For crying out loud, the program was signed into law by a Republican—President Nixon—way back in 1970.
“Helping patients get the birth control they need is not just something Americans overwhelmingly support, it’s the right thing to do.
“So we’re here today to see if Republicans are actually willing to reverse course—and walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
“Because let’s be honest: Republicans messaging on family planning has so far been hollow.
“It’s been straight-up false.
“The Trump administration put in place a disastrous gag rule for the Title X program that forced Washington state providers—and so many others—out of the Title X program for years.
“I led the charge in making sure the Biden Administration worked to quickly reverse the rule and rebuild the program.
“But just a couple of months ago, Republicans tried to reinstate it.
“And yet, here they are again—claiming to support family planning services.
“Well, this Thursday, the rubber hits the road.
“On Thursday, we’re going to take to the Senate floor to seek unanimous consent to pass our bill and help get people the family planning services they need.
“And I’d just ask all of my Republican colleagues—who have been loudly talking about supporting women, and families, and family planning, who have been using their so-called support for family planning as a way to cover up their extreme agenda: What is your word worth? Will you actually support women—and help them get the birth control they need?
“People all across our country will be watching very closely.”
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