Fri, 03/29/2019

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the State Senate voted to allocate $8 million in funding for family planning clinics in the Commonwealth to offset potential cuts to the federal Title X program proposed by the Trump administration.

Title X is a federal grant program which prioritizes the needs of low-income families or uninsured people (including those who are not eligible for Medicaid) who might not otherwise have access to family planning and preventative health services. Under a recent proposal, the federal government is planning to withhold Title X funding for any Massachusetts family planning clinic which counsels individuals on abortion as an option or provides abortion as one of its services. Family planning clinics offer a variety of services, including contraceptives, screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted illnesses, and specialized family planning care.

The Legislature’s action would provide $8 million for entities to access, allowing the state to offset possible reductions and help preserve services provided to 80,000 Massachusetts families.

The legislation passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Wednesday in a bipartisan 139-14 vote, and the State Senate gave its approbation on Thursday. Senator Pat Jehlen, Senator Jason Lewis, and Representative Michael Day all supported the passage of the bills.

“Massachusetts residents deserve to access the care they need, and that includes family planning and reproductive health care,” said Senator Pat Jehlen. “I was glad to join my colleagues in voting for this critical funding, which will help the vulnerable families whose health and well-being have been continuously targeted by the Trump administration.”

“I applaud my colleagues in both the House and the Senate for providing state dollars to fill the gap that will be left by the Trump administration’s misguided attempt to defund family planning services,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “Massachusetts residents have a fundamental right to access all family planning services as part of their reproductive health care, and the legislature remains committed to ensuring access to those services.”

“The cuts proposed by this Presidential Administration are short-sighted and would essentially target the healthcare of women from the lower income brackets to make a political point," said Representative Michael  S. Day. "I am happy that the overwhelming majority of my colleagues in both the House of Representatives and the State Senate have joined together to reject this attack on family planning and reproductive health.”