$11.2 million investment for Illinois family planning services

SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) – The Pritzker administration celebrated $11.2 million in grants for family planning services in low-income communities across Illinois Monday afternoon. State leaders say this will support access to Title X services that were restricted under the Trump administration.

Title X allows people to receive affordable birth control and reproductive health care services regardless of their income or health insurance. President Joe Biden has reversed a federal gag rule that prevented family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.

Illinois received $5.4 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to affordable family planning services for uninsured people. State lawmakers already appropriated another $5.8 million in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget to support the 29 agencies that run 98 family planning clinics in Illinois.

These providers allow patients to receive testing for HIV, treatment for breast and cervical cancer, and reproductive health care. Gov. JB Pritzker said this announcement is critical, especially as the U.S. Senate failed to pass a plan to codify Roe v. Wade last week.

“Let this record-breaking investment remind women that the state of Illinois trusts you to make your own decisions – to choose what contraceptives are right for you, to choose whether you want to be a parent or not and when,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker stressed that these clinics provide the fundamentals of health care for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Illinois family planning clinics have helped more than 150,000 patients over the past few years.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says low-income people and those who may be underinsured should always have access to high-quality and affordable health care services they need. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arti Barnes said the family planning program provides culturally-sensitive and responsive services that are vital to the health and safety of tens of thousands of people across the state. She noted that roughly 80% of the people served were under the federal poverty level.

“IFPP provides a whole range of contraceptive options with a focus on client-centered decision making that really best fits their reproductive life plan,” Barnes said. “The program provides pre-conception counseling, infertility education, referrals, physical exams, health screenings, blood pressure checks, weight checks, pap smears, and of course pregnancy testing and options as well as sexually-transmitted infection testing and treatment.”

Barnes said the Trump administration’s gag rule restricted IDPH and the network of family planning clinics to maintain services for clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted Illinois was only able to get the job done due to support from Pritzker and members of the General Assembly.

“We understand that self-determination and bodily autonomy of women and individuals assigned female at birth is a fundamental human right,” said Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago).

Pritzker said he couldn’t ensure funding for the program would be safe if a Republican became governor or president. Whether Democrat or Republican, Pritzker argues leaders must be pro-choice and believe in family planning.

“They need to believe in providing health care for women and meeting the needs of women across our state and our nation,” Pritzker said.

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton stood alongside Pritzker and other advocates while wearing a pin stating “keep abortion legal.” Stratton noted the right to choose is about the freedom to live healthy and well. She also feels it is about empowerment passed down over generations. Stratton said each generation dreamed of better futures for daughters to come.

“So what do I tell my daughters who are in danger of losing rights that I had? I tell them that we are not going back,” Stratton said. “We are going forward, and today we take an important step in this journey by restoring millions of dollars in funding for Title X.”

Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.

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