WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate voting to block Title X federal family-planning funds to Planned Parenthood health centers.
“Title X is the nation’s only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing Americans with family planning and related health services. In fact, 40 percent of women who receive care from Title X clinics consider it to be their only source of health care. And last year alone, Title X funding provided basic health care services such as pap tests, contraception, breast exams and HIV testing to more than 4 million low-income women and men across the country.
“Make no mistake: today’s vote represents a war on our nation’s poor as it decimates low-income women’s access to health care. The fact that this bill only passed due to Vice President Mike Pence’s tiebreaking vote adds insult to injury: once again, men are making critical decisions about women’s health.
“It also does not go unnoticed that this vote passed on the heels of Women’s History Month – a history defined by women fighting for agency over their own bodies and lives. I am disturbed that Republicans voted to set that fight back today.
“Let’s be clear: this is not about abortion. The Hyde Amendment already bars federal funding for abortion. This is about low-income women and restricting their access to basic, primary health care. Plain and simple.
“In Maryland there are 55 Title X-funded health centers that serve more than 64,000 patients. Eighty-four percent of those patients have incomes at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty line. That means they earned $11,770 a year or less. Overturning this regulation will help no one, but will actively harm our most vulnerable communities. Today’s vote was reckless and thoughtless and I am committed to fighting it every way I can.”