On February 18, the US House of Representatives voted to terminate Title X funding, which supports clinics and programs that provide contraception and basic gynecological care to low-income women. It was passed with a clause that explicitly targeted Planned Parenthood, a nationwide comprehensive women’s health and education  organization. While this Bill has a long way to go before becoming law, it is still alarming, especially because of what this means for women who access their services, who tend to be young women, women of color, and low-income women.

This is not about abortion procedures, although that is what supporters of the bill are saying. In 1977, the Hyde Amendment went into effect. This law severely changed the effects of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade (which upheld a constitutional right to an abortion up to the beginning of the third trimester) because it outlawed the use of any federal funds for abortion services.  The Hyde Amendment currently allows exceptions for rape, incest, or when medically necessary for the life of the pregnant woman, but for  Medicaid programs as well as other federal programs, such as Indian Health Services or women in the armed forces, abortion for any reason is expressly outlawed.

If federal funds for abortion services have already been restricted, then it becomes unclear what legislators are trying to stop funding- Pap smears, breast exams, yeast infection remedies, contraceptive education, STD and HIV testing and counseling?

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