WASHINGTON - AUGUST 3 - Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, today applauded members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted in support of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP). This wide-ranging health care bill will provide millions of low-income children and adults with health insurance, and it contains several key family planning provisions, including new restrictions on federal abstinence-only funding and a state option to expand access to real sex education.
“Planned Parenthood applauds the majority of members of Congress who stood up and voted in favor of children and families’ health — and in favor of a commonsense prevention agenda,” said PPFA Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Nancy Clack. “The best way to build healthy families is to put prevention first — and that means making sure our children have health insurance, women have access to reproductive health care and affordable birth control, and teens have access to medically accurate information. Better than an apple a day, this vote represents a huge step forward for the health and safety of children and families across the nation.”
By a vote of 225-204, House members supported CHAMP and the family planning provisions that will help reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and promote healthy families. The most important of these provisions gives states the option to expand Medicaid eligibility levels to increase coverage of family planning services for low-income women. Currently, more than 17 million women in the U.S. need publicly funded family planning services, and there is not enough funding to meet the need. Strengthening Medicaid coverage of family planning services has proven effective in reducing the rate of unintended pregnancy, and this provision will make it easier for states to offer this expanded coverage.
CHAMP also adds new restrictions on federal abstinence-only programs, and gives states the option to use Title V abstinence-only money to fund real sex education programs. These changes mark an important step toward Planned Parenthood’s goal of eliminating federal funding of dangerous abstinence-only programs and expanding access to comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. Abstinence-only programs deny teens the age-appropriate, complete information they need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Studies have shown that teens who participate in abstinence-only programs are less likely to use contraception when they become sexually active than peers who receive medically accurate sex education.
“There is a public health care crisis in this country — nearly nine million children lack health insurance, 17 million low-income women in the U.S. need subsidized family planning services, and approximately 750,000 U.S. teens will become pregnant this year in part because they don't have access to the information they need to make healthy decisions about their lives," added Clack. “On behalf of the millions of women, men, and teens who turn to Planned Parenthood every year, we thank our friends in the House who confronted these problems and voted in favor of commonsense solutions to America’s health care crisis.”
CHAMP also tackles some barriers to health care delivery in underserved communities. The act increases funding for translation services to alleviate existing informational, language, and cultural barriers to health care. CHAMP also attempts to address the burdensome citizenship verification requirement for Medicaid that has created barriers for American citizens who rely on Medicaid for health care, including family planning services. While CHAMP restores citizenship verification for Medicaid eligibility to a state option for children, it does not resolve all of the existing documentation barriers that unfairly deny qualified citizens access to health care and may even impose new ones.
Every year, Planned Parenthood provides millions of women, men and teens with health care information and services. For more information about Planned Parenthood's Prevention First Agenda, visit http://www.plannedparenthood.org/.