This article by Bob Audette originally appeared June 7 in the Brattleboro Reformer.
BRATTLEBORO — Last year, 72 percent of the patients who visited the Brattleboro office of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England had incomes of $24,120 or less.
According to Lucy Leriche, Vice President of Public Policy for PPNNE Vermont, these are the people that will be hurt the most if the Trump Administration’s proposed Title X changes are put into effect.
“What Title X does is provide resources so that low-income people have access to basic and essential health care services,” said Leriche. About 40 percent of PPNNE’s funding comes from Title X, a federal program that funds family planning and related health services.
Under the direction of the Trump administration, the federal Department of Health and Human Services plans to transition its funding to programs that teach abstinence-only and natural family planning (also known as the rhythm method).
“We weren’t incredibly surprised but we were disappointed to see the administration moving in this direction,” said Leriche. “These changes are dangerous and cruel and would take health care away from poor people.”
Leriche said the administration’s policy would eliminate PPNNE’s ability to offer full-spectrum counseling that includes advice on the 18 recommended and FDA approved birth control methods that have been proven effective in reducing teen pregnancy and brought unwanted pregnancies to record low levels.
“Abstinence-only and natural planning education is not very reliable,” she said. “It doesn’t work well because human beings aren’t perfect.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates in the United States have reached historic lows over the past four decades. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, abortion rates in the United States have also fallen to a historic low.
Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)