Vermont opts out of federal Title X funding Cites Trump administration rule against abortion services

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine

Following new federal limits on how federal Title X funding can be used, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD has notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the state of Vermont will stop using those funds provided to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England for family planning services in Vermont.

Instead, the Vermont Department of Health will use state funds that have been reserved to ensure these services can continue.

Title X is a federal grant program created in 1970 to provide comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services to low-income families or uninsured people who might not otherwise have access to these basic health care services.

HHS recently issued a Final Rule that prevents Title X funds from being used to provide the full range of family planning and reproductive health-care services.

“These changes by HHS will disrupt one of our state’s most essential public health programs,” Dr. Levine said. “For nearly 50 years, Title X has helped ensure that Vermonters have access to quality family planning and we want to make sure this continues.”

Approximately 10,000 Vermonters receive services through Title X at 10 Planned Parenthood health centers located across the state. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is the state’s sole provider of family planning services in Vermont.

The notice was sent to HHS on Thursday, Aug. 15 in advance of its Aug. 19 deadline requiring states to submit a plan outlining how they will comply with changes by the Trump administration that will restrict patients’ access to information about abortion and other reproductive health services. You can read that letter here.

State officials expressed concern that complying with the changes to Title X would disrupt the state’s network of health services and providers’ obligation to give patients the range of options. Complying with the restrictions would also violate state law. In 2019, Vermont enshrined in law “the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion” and prohibited interference with “regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information, the choice of a consenting individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy.”

“It’s important that we maintain women’s rights and access to health care,” said Gov. Phil Scott. “It’s unfortunate we are at this point, but I appreciate the collaboration with the Attorney General and legislature to put aside contingency funding in the 2018 budget. Vermont joins Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts and Maryland in foregoing Title X.”

In his notice to HHS, Dr. Levine expressed the hope that the changes to Title X prove to be short-lived, and that the Health Department and HHS can return to its historical partnership.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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  1. Jennifer Warren says:

    Look what happened when Texas de-funded Planned Parenthood in 2011: clinics closed and birth control fees went up which caused birth rates to rise among the poor which caused state spending to care for these high increase of poor children.

    According to Freakanomics, because poor people are disproportionately more likely to be criminals, once these huge influx of babies are old enough, the crime rate will increase.

    You’re living with your head in the sand if you think abortions will just go away or if you think a significant number of women will choose adoption.

    By putting restrictions on abortion, it’s the poor who are less likely to get abortions. Rich people have the money, the time, and the connections to get it done.

  2. Aaron Little says:

    Please do not fund Planned Parenthood. Fund organizations that do not support abortion.