WASHINGTON — US Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 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.
“For over 50 years, Title X has provided Americans with critical family planning and preventive health services, empowering them to make decisions that are best for their health and financial well-being,” said the senators. “This legislation will help ensure that women can continue to access the reproductive health care services they need.”
The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning and preventive health services. It provides a range of services, including wellness exams, cervical and breast cancer screenings, education on contraception and birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and basic infertility services. In 2020, over 1.5 million patients received family planning services through Title X.
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. Title X is currently funded through the annual appropriations process, which subjects the program to an unpredictable funding stream that is insufficient to meet the national need;
- 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; other
- 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 such information.
Following the Dobbs decision overturning the right to choose, Warner and Kaine have strongly advocated for legislation to protect Americans’ access to reproductive health care. They are cosponsors of legislation to protect the right of women to travel across state lines for abortion services and help protect medical providers from being punished for providing patients with this care. Kaine is a cosponsor of legislation to expand access to affordable over-the-counter birth control and legislation to protect access to medication abortions.
In addition to Warner, Kaine, Smith, Murray, and Warren, the legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Angus King (I-ME), Debbie Stabenow ( D-MI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D -HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (DR.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) , Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
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, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Full text of the bill is available here. A summary is available here.