Representative Dold Introduces the Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act

From the office of Rep. Robert Dold (Ill., 10th District)…

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Robert J. Dold (R-IL-10) introduced H.R. 5650, the Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act. He was joined at a press conference with Darlee Crocket of Planned Parenthood and Candy Straight and Susan Bevan with Republican Majority for Choice.

“As a pro-choice Republican, I believe that this legislation is critical because it ensures nondiscrimination within the federal Title X family planning program,” said Dold. “We have seen several attempts to block funds and exclude health care providers from participating in the Title X program simply because they separately offer services beyond the scope of Title X. We should not discriminate against hospitals and organizations that provide access to basic, preventative, and in some cases life-saving services for so many underprivileged women through Title X.”

“Planned Parenthood of Illinois strongly supports the Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act introduced by Representative Bob Dold (IL-10),” said President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Carole Brite. “Women deserve access to basic preventive reproductive health care such as lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and birth control regardless of their ability to pay for it. This act would ensure that qualified health centers that treat low-income women cannot be denied federal Title X funds on the basis that they provide abortion services with non-Title X funds as required by law.”

“According to the Guttmacher Institute, Title X–supported family planning centers served 4.7 million women in 2008,” said Brite. “The contraceptive services provided at these centers helped women and couples avoid 973,000 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 433,000 unplanned births and 406,000 abortions. Without these services, unintended pregnancy and abortion in the United States would be one-third higher. And by helping women avoid unintended pregnancies, Title X–supported family planning centers saved taxpayers $3.4 billion in 2008—or $3.74 for every $1 spent on contraceptive care.”

“As a breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand about the importance of access to health care for women,” said former Illinois Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood. “Title X funding can be life-saving to many women whose only access to mammograms and routine cancer screenings are through this program. I firmly support this legislation as it ensures all women have access to health care and provides a vital resource to our communities.”

Background Information:

During the FY2011 budget debate, Rep. Dold spoke out on the House floor against a legislative effort to prohibit health care funding to Planned Parenthood and was one of seven Republicans to vote to oppose the amendment. Watch that floor speech below.

Out of his concerns to protect access to Title X, Dold testified before the Budget Committee earlier this year on his priorities. He spoke about the need for Title X funding and the important preventative and health care services offered. Here is a copy of that testimony:

“Another priority I want to emphasize is access to health care. The Title X Family Planning Program is a valuable component of our nation’s health care infrastructure, providing family planning services and education to millions of low-income Americans. Through these programs, low-income women, as well as men, are provided access to preventative health care measures, including physical examinations, breast cancer screenings, HIV testing, and access to contraception. I support funding for Title X health programs because I believe it is important to ensure access to this basic preventative care for low-income individuals. Title X family planning helps over 5 million low-income Americans each year, and so it is critically important that we continue to support the women who depend on these health care services.”

Today, Dold introduced this bill and is working to gather bipartisan support for this important legislation. Several states are targeting health care providers to low-income women like Planned Parenthood, and working to exclude them from participating in health care programs for reasons unrelated to those health care programs. This legislation would prevent discrimination and ensure that we affirmatively protect access for the millions of women who receive health care through Title X participants.

To watch Dold’s remarks from this morning, click here.

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