Today, the House of Representatives voted to overturn a rule President Obama put into place last year that clarified the qualifications for funding Title X family planning services. This critical rule reinforced the longstanding requirement that health care providers may not be excluded from the program for reasons unrelated to their qualifications to perform Title X-funded services. In overturning the rule, states may be emboldened to discriminate against health centers like Planned Parenthood and prevent them from receiving Title X funds. In response, Physicians for Reproductive Health Board Chair Dr. Willie Parker issued the following statement:
“Rolling back the rule on qualifications for Title X is dangerous—it could prevent millions of people across the country from getting the health care they need. Where I practice in the South, many of my patients, their families, and their communities rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, and other vital preventive care. Planned Parenthood is the only way some of my patients can stay healthy. The people who rely on Title X funding—including people of color, people with low incomes, and those who live in rural areas—already face obstacles to getting health care. If budgets are moral documents, then so are funding criteria. Nothing says more clearly to our most vulnerable citizens “you don’t matter” like restricting access to what they need to be healthy. The federal government’s priority should be improving Americans’ access to health care, not eliminating options.”
In response to Oklahoma HB 1441, a bill that would unconstitutionally ban a woman from obtaining abortion care in Oklahoma unless the “father of the fetus” provides his “informed written consent,” Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, Physicians for Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow, issued the following statement:
“Oklahoma HB 1441 is an outrageous bill meant to shame, burden, and degrade women seeking abortion care. This bill clearly violates a patient’s constitutional right to make a decision about her own health care by requiring the consent of her partner. Women in Oklahoma already face multiple restrictions when they are seeking abortion care, and such a blatant attempt to undermine a woman’s autonomy is unconscionable. The bill would also allow men to challenge paternity, which would subject women to costly tests that could delay care. In addition, women in abusive situations seeking abortion care would be put at even greater risk of harm from their partners.
The idea that a woman needs a man’s permission to make decisions about her own medical care or that women are demoted to “hosts” when they are pregnant is dangerous. No one should be empowered to interfere with the private decision to have an abortion. We implore the Oklahoma House of Representatives to vote no on this unconstitutional bill.”