Massachusetts has become the first state to approve funding for women’s health, following a new Trump Administration rule. The money from the state will help protect family planning clinics from federal funding cuts.
The Massachusetts bill provides $8 million, available through the end of fiscal year 2020, to cover the loss of any funding as a result of the Trump Administration’s changes to Title X.
In a statement to 22News, Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts CEO, said, “We applaud Massachusetts’ leadership, but we must be clear: states should not have to protect their residents from their own federal government. All people – no matter what state they live in – deserve access to affordable birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. The gag rule is malicious, harmful, and cannot stand.”
Title X is a federal program that provides birth control and other reproductive health services to millions of low-income Americans. Under the new rule, any organization that provides or refers patients for abortions is ineligible for Title X funding to cover STD prevention, cancer screenings, and contraception.
“There are people, women in our communities right now who are relying on access to the healthcare services,” said Massachusetts State Senator Eric Lesser. “We want to make sure the rug is not pulled out right from under them so abruptly. No matter what happens in Washington, here in Massachusetts, we have an obligation to protect our citizens.”
Federal funding for abortion is already illegal in most cases.
Governor Charlie Baker is the first governor to sign such legislation since these changes to Title X were made.
Maryland passed a similar law in 2017 to protect funding for Planned Parenthood in anticipation of the rule.
Supporters of the changes to Title X argue that no organization with any ties to abortion should receive the federal funds.