“Title X family planning clinics play a critical role in ensuring access to a broad range of family planning and preventive health services,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. Nevertheless, these services are limited by a recently passed rule that cuts funding to centers if providers discuss certain health care options. This rule, in effect, censors what health care providers may discuss with patients.
The Title X Family Planning Act is essential to the people of West Virginia. This program was established in 1970 to ensure that every person, regardless of where they live, their income, their background, or even whether they have health insurance or not, has access to care.
In 2017, nearly 70,000 West Virginians relied on care delivered by the 146 Title X-funded health care centers in our state. Most of these patients were underinsured or even uninsured; however, they were still able to receive basic reproductive care at these clinics, such as birth control, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, well-woman exams and cancer screening. These centers, moreover, are uniquely positioned to connect those suffering from opioid addiction with desperately needed help.
On behalf of those who rely upon Title X-funded health care services — services provided at reduced or even no cost — it is crucial that we support funding to our Title X facilities so that all individuals can have access to the care they need.
I hope readers will urge our congressional representatives to be champions for access to vitally needed health care and to fight to reverse this rule so that necessary patient information and services will remain available for all who need it in West Virginia.