The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has denounced the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule that makes substantive changes to the Title X Family Planning Program and jeopardizes access to critical reproductive health care services, including cancer screenings, for thousands of Coloradans.
The rule will go into effect within 60 days.
“Our work is based on a commitment to ensuring all residents have access to care, and this rule eradicates the progress we’ve made,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, CDPHE executive director. “It will result in more unintended pregnancies, more sexually transmitted infections, and more early-stage cancers that will go undetected. The men and women of our state deserve better.”
The department receives approximately $3.8 million annually from the Title X program. Title X is a federal program that provides contraception, cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and other preventive services to 4 million people every year. The department uses Title X funds and $4.1 million in state funds to help support the family planning program statewide. The funding provides low- to no-cost reproductive health care for all Coloradans. The funding does not pay for abortion services.
“Our work is based on a commitment to ensuring all residents have access to care, and this rule eradicates the progress we’ve made.”
Jill Hunsaker Ryan
The Colorado Family Planning Program has had extensive success in saving the state money and keeping women healthy. The program helped cut teen birth and abortion rates in half over the last 10 years. By reducing the number of births, the state avoided millions in spending to social support programs. An independent study found the program averted $66.1 million to $69.6 million in potential costs for four state and federal programs that provide health care, food and other assistance to Colorado women and their infants. The Colorado Family Planning Program has enjoyed bipartisan support for the past 48 years.
This rule will harm the state health department’s Title X program in many ways:
-There will be a dramatic reduction in the number of providers who will remain in the Title X program because of the rule dictating what providers are able to recommend to their patients. These prohibitions inappropriately interfere in the physician-patient relationship by compromising the providers’ professional responsibility to provide unbiased care to their patients.
-The rule will limit honest conversations and damage the strength of the provider-patient relationship, ultimately crippling patients’ ability to make fully informed reproductive health decisions for themselves.
-Several clinics may no longer qualify for Title X funding because of the confusing and burdensome financial and physical separation requirements.
-Thousands of patients a year will no longer be able to access affordable, quality care.
-If the department loses some of its network of skilled and innovative providers, Colorado will see an increase in teen births, unintended pregnancy and abortion. Colorado will lose the gains we made thanks to expanded contraceptive access.
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