Unfortunately, this past week has been a bit of a roller coaster of political happenings. From Vice President Mike Pence's strange abhorrence towards dining alone with women, President Donald Trump's many golf trips, and Ivanka Trump being given an official White House position, keeping up with the Trump administration hasn't been as easy task lately. But it still matters, and on Thursday, Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to allow states to withhold Title X funds from clinics that offer abortion services — including Planned Parenthood. But what is Title X, really? And what does Title X provide mothers? The truth is, it does more than you might think.
Part of the United States Department of Health And Human Service's Office of Population Affairs, Title X is "the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services." As a grant program, Title X funding relies on Medicaid reimbursements, as well as other federal funding.
One of the main reasons for this latest Title X development is so that Republicans can completely reassure their constituents that taxpayer money isn't going towards funding abortions. However, that mandate already stands with the Hyde Amendment, which makes this latest legislation especially important to fully understand.
Simply put, Title X provides comprehensive health care to women and families who need it most. In the programs main priorities for 2017, "assuring the delivery of quality family planning and related preventive health services, with priority for services to individuals from low-income families," topped the list.
While Title X funding has been distributed to Planned Parenthood facilities in the past, the clinics aren't allowed to use the funds for any abortions. Their family planning services section states:
The broad range of services does not include abortion as a method of family planning. Currently, 95 service grantees provide required Title X services through a network of nearly 4,200 clinics nationwide. There is at least one Title X-funded family planning clinic in approximately 75% of all counties in the U.S.
Specifically for mothers, Title X funding can be used for, "natural family planning methods, infertility services, and services for adolescents; highly effective contraceptive methods; breast and cervical cancer screening and prevention services that correspond with nationally recognized standards of care; STD and HIV prevention education, counseling, testing, and referral."
So while the Obama administration had worked to ensure that states can't block Title X family planning funds from clinics that provide abortion services, the GOP has officially undone that move, and made it easier for states to decide how women, mothers, and children receive health care.