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« What’s at stake this International Women’s Day? | Main | “Junk” health plan won’t cover what women need! »

Title X Family Planning Program under attack!

Trump Administration Takes Aim at Title X Family Planning Program 

A Trump administration Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Title X family planning program is signaling a radical shift in the program’s priorities. Title X is the national program that provides essential health care like birth control, cancer screenings and well-woman exams to 4 million patients each year. For over 40 years, it has served as a critical safety net for women who would otherwise go without health care, including low-income women, women of color and immigrant women.

While the announcement doesn’t explicitly exclude Planned Parenthood, it penalizes reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood, while prioritizing providers who don’t offer the full range of birth control methods. The FOA also signals the administration’s efforts to roll back access to the most effective forms of birth control, encouraging women to use “fertility awareness” methods over other common forms of birth control that are up to 99 percent effective.

These changes to the Title X Program will have chilling effects on women who rely on the program and on Planned Parenthood for access to reproductive health care. It means that more women will be forced to go without the health care they need. HHS’ attempts to undermine Title X will disproportionately hurt women of color, who comprise over half of the people served by the program. You can speak out against these attacks on Title X by using the hashtags #TitleX and #Fight4BirthControl on social media.

Join today’s Twitter chat on how to use health insurance effectively

Join Raising Women’s Voices @RWV4HealthCare today at 2 p.m. Eastern for a Twitter chat on how to use your health insurance wisely to get the care you need and avoid unexpected costs.

We’ll be tweeting out answers to questions from Community Catalyst about how to take advantage of free preventive care that is covered by insurance plans and how to choose a primary care provider (PCP) who is in your health plan network and is right for you. We’ll also explain those confusing insurance terms like co-payment, deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum.

Take action Monday to protect young immigrants
Following Congress’ failure earlier this month to approve bipartisan legislation to restore legal protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, the fate of “Dreamers” has remained unclear. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court declined to take up the Trump administration’s fast-track challenge to two lower court decisions blocking the administration from terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that granted 800,000 young immigrants protection from deportation and provided them with the ability to work and support their families.  The Supreme Court action means that DACA will remain in place for the time being. But despite these temporary wins, which will allow immigrants who already have DACA status to continue applying for renewals after March 5, we still need a permanent solution for the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers whose fate remains in limbo.

How can you show your support for Dreamers? You can participate in one of the hundreds of events happening across the country on March 5 for the National Day of Action to Protect Immigrant YouthCheck out what events are happening near youhere. You also can continue to call on Congress to come up with a permanent solution that would protect all Dreamers.  
You can’t advocate for us, without us! RWV at Take Root 2018
Kalena Murphy, RWV’s Regional Field Manager, and many of our regional coordinators joined advocates from across the country over the weekend for Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice conference in Norman, OK. The event was hosted by the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. The conference focuses on struggles and the strengths of those working towards reproductive justice in the more conservative parts of the country.

Several of our regional coordinators provided in-depth perspectives on their work in their respective states. Cherisse Scott, CEO and Founder or SisterReach (RWV’s regional coordinator in Tennessee), presented on “Faith and Reproductive Justice.” The session included background on the concept of Reproductive Justice, connecting RJ principles and practices with faith principles, and discussion about how to craft conversations around RJ issues.

Lakeesha Harris and Nia Weeks (second from right in photo), two representatives of our New-Orleans based coordinator, Women With a Vision, addressed alternatives to engaging with police and provided creative and holistic solutions to addressing community needs of safety. Nia Weeks also spoke on a panel discussing criminalization as a mechanism of punishment for pregnant women, intersectional issues (pregnancy, HIV status, and drug possession), and positive strategies to counter punitive approaches.

Kwajelyn Jackson (second from right in photo), Co-director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center (RWV’s Atlanta based coordinator), served on a panel focusing on birth justice, maternal mortality, the right to parent and mass incarceration. Kwajelyn, a steering committee member of Black Mamas Alliance, also highlighted their work addressing black maternal mortality.

Amber Garcia (second from right in photo) of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights COLOR(RWV’s regional coordinator in Denver) andAuduwyn Williams (at left in photo) of WV Free (RWV’s regional coordinator in West Virginia) both presented on building a healthier, more sustainable RJ movement. The panel discussed living wages, treatment of staff and volunteers and self-care.

Rebecca BerryBlack Women’s Health Imperative Fellow and member of RWV’s national coordinating team, spoke on the history of shackling of incarcerated pregnant women and shared prisoners’ experiences. The session explored grassroots solutions for bringing oversight and accountability to prisons violating anti-shacking laws.

RWV is proud to support the work of our regional coordinators. We are glad they are able to provide expertise in these spaces and demonstrate an intersectional perspective to addressing the needs of women and LGBTQ+ folks.
Another GOP lawsuit trying to overturn the ACA

This week, 20 Republican state attorneys general filed suit in Texas, once again alleging that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be overturned. The Supreme Court held in 2012 that Congress did not have the constitutional authority to mandate the purchase of health insurance but that it could tax Americans who failed to do so. The states argue that since Congress repealed the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate through the GOP tax bill starting next year, the soon-to-be toothless mandate that remains on the books is unconstitutional, and by extension, so is the rest of the law.

The Supreme Court already ruled in 2012—when it made Medicaid expansion optional for states—that even if parts of the ACA are found to be unconstitutional, the rest of the law will stand. Numerous courts, including the Supreme Court, have already rejected prior attempts to gut the ACA or interpret it in a way that would cause the health insurance markets to collapse. Now, with the GOP Congress having affirmatively tried and failed to repeal the ACA legislatively after an unprecedented outpouring of support for the ACA from the American people, it seems even less likely that the courts will disrupt health coverage for millions of Americans.
But we will be monitoring this last-ditch attempt by Republicans to keep their ACA repeal attempts alive.


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