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Planned To Fail?

Planned Parenthood of Maryland faces catastrophic funding cuts

Photo: Jennifer Daniel, License: N/A

Jennifer Daniel

In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law a national family planning program under the name Title X. The act allows family planning providers to offer sliding scale fees to low-income clients, and is a major portion of funding for public providers and Planned Parenthood. With a resolution to eliminate Title X pending a vote in the U.S. Senate, Planned Parenthood of Maryland faces an estimated 60-70 percent cut in its funding, spokesperson ChristieLyn Diller says. The loss would come in the form of business and co-payments from sliding scale patients and Medicaid patients—whose insurance would no longer be accepted—and cut federal grants.

Planned Parenthood of Maryland has eight locations, with three—Baltimore City, Towson, and Owings Mills—in the Baltimore area. In the 2010 fiscal year, the Baltimore City location served 7,160 clients over 10,351 visits. In total, the three Baltimore-area locations served 52.8 percent of Maryland’s total clients (12,420 out of 23,515) and received 50.9 percent of its total visits (18,422 out of 36,195).

Of Maryland’s eight locations, only two, Baltimore and Annapolis, provide abortion services. All of the locations provide contraceptive and family planning services, STD testing and treatment (including HIV), cancer screenings, and various other health services; Towson’s location also offers vasectomies.

In 2009, Planned Parenthood of America’s services consisted of contraception, including emergency contraception (35 percent); STI/STD testing and treatment (35 percent); cancer screening and prevention (16 percent); other women’s health services, including pregnancy tests and prenatal clients (10 percent); abortion procedures (3 percent); and various other services, including men and women who use Planned Parenthood as their primary care location (1 percent). By Planned Parenthood’s estimate, the contraceptive services it provides avert 612,000 unintended pregnancies and 291,000 abortions each year.

Should the resolution pass, Planned Parenthood would face a massive change in the way it serves its clients, Diller says, though the organization had anticipated the possibility of Title X’s elimination with the full implementation of health care reform in 2014. “What’s going on now,” she says, “is more frightening.”

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