3 Democratic Senators introduce legislation to protect reproductive health care services

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On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Washington), Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) introduced a new bill that would provide a consistent and strong source of funding for the Title X Family Planning Program.

The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act would protect access to critical reproductive health care services like birth control, cancer screenings and more.  On Thursday, Murray, Smith and Warren will seek unanimous consent to pass the bill on the Senate floor. 

“Our legislation will strengthen Title X to help more patients get the birth control they need, the cervical and breast cancer screenings that could save their life and the support they need to plan a family on their own terms,” said Murray, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. 

RELATED: West Coast states promise access to abortion, contraceptives

The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning services in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rely on the program for essential health care. 

Title X is funded through the annual appropriations process, an unpredictable funding stream that is insufficient to meet national demand. However, this new bill would provide a consistent and strong source of funding for 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, a figure well above the $286 million the program received in 2022
  • 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 against providers who deliver Title X services
  • Require that pregnancy counseling include information about prenatal care and delivery, infant care, foster care, adoption and pregnancy termination unless a patient is not interested in receiving information about an option

RELATED: New UW study on effective dispensing of abortion medications via telehealth services

The bill is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Physicians for Reproductive Health, NARAL Pro-Choice America and American Civil Liberties Union, among other organizations. 

“I’d just ask all of my Republican colleagues — who have been loudly talking about supporting women and have been using their so-called support for family planning to cover up their extreme agenda — what is your word worth?” said Murray. “Will you actually support women and help them get the birth control they need? On Thursday, women across the country will be watching closely.”