The year 2017 is beginning to look pretty dismal for the fate of women's reproductive rights. And Vice President Mike Pence isn't helping matters; on Thursday, Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of restricting funding for clinics that provide equal access to family planning through Title X programs. Despite the fact that Title X provides pregnant women with essential health care services, the fact that some of the clinics also provide abortion services was apparently enough to justify the anti-choice vice president to cast his vote. A vote he cast against the only federal program that is "solely focused on family planning" since 1970, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
While Title X is mostly focused on providing preventative health care and family planning services, the Center for Reproductive Rights noted that the funds benefit pregnant women by offering a variety of options, like referrals for essential programs including:
Title X also offers affordable, primary care to approximately four million women every year, according to the Planned Parenthood website. Services like:
Well women exams
Cervical and breast cancer screening
Birth control services
Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
The majority of women who benefit from these essential screening services are defined as low-income (further data from the Planned Parenthood website indicated that 90 percent of these patients have incomes 250 percent below the federal poverty level), and would not otherwise be able to afford these screening services on their own. Services are provided on a sliding scale based on income.
Title X has been in existence since 1970, when President Nixon decided it would be beneficial to provide affordable (and in some cases, free) preventative health care services to low-income patients. So why are Senate Republicans so hell-bent on giving states the freedom to limit funds to some 4,700 clinics that provide Title X services?
Some of the clinics offer abortion services. That's right; Senate Republicans have reasoned that limiting funds to Title X programs, whose main objective is to prevent unwanted pregnancies, will somehow ensure fewer abortions. Despite the fact that Title X has proven time and again to save taxpayers money (according to a 2015 Planned Parenthood infographic, Title X programs save seven dollars for every one dollar invested), save women's lives through cancer screening services, and prevent unwanted pregnancies, Senate Republicans are working harder than ever to see it defunded.
The clouded logic is stupefying.