Women and those who support family planning
United States of America

By increasing access to family planning services, the Prevention First Act will improve women’s health, reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy and reduce abortions. The Prevention First Act will:

 Increase Funding for the National Family Planning Program (Title X). Title X provides high-quality preventive health care to low income individuals who may otherwise lack access to health care. Every year, Title X services prevent approximately one million unintended pregnancies, nearly half of which would end in abortion.

 Expand Medicaid Family Planning Services. A low income woman is four times as likely to have an unintended pregnancy, five times as likely to have an unintended birth and more than four times as likely to have an abortion as her higher-income counterpart. This bill will strengthen Medicaid coverage of family planning services, by clarifying and ensuring that Medicaid coverage for family planning services remain accessible to low-income women. It will also amend the Medicaid statute to require states to extend coverage for family planning services and supplies to women who would be entitled to Medicaid funded prenatal, labor, delivery and postpartum care if they became pregnant.

 End Insurance Discrimination Against Women: Women of reproductive age pay 68% more in out-of-pocket costs for health care services than do men of the same age. Expenses related to reproductive health account for much of this difference. The bill requires private health plans to cover FDA-approved prescription contraceptives and related medical services to the same extent that they cover prescription drugs and other outpatient medical services.

 Improve Awareness about Emergency Contraception (EC): Greater awareness of EC could substantially reduce the staggering number of unintended pregnancies. Approved for use by the FDA, EC prevents pregnancy and cannot interrupt or disrupt an established pregnancy. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that easier access to EC does not increase sexual risk-taking or STDs. The bill provides funding to implement important public education initiatives about emergency contraception (EC) and its benefits and uses to both women and medical providers.

 Provide Compassionate Assistance for Rape Victims: Women who suffer sexual assault should not have to face the additional trauma of an unwanted pregnancy. Approximately 300,000 women are reported raped each year in the US and nearly 25,000 victims of rape will become pregnant as a result. The bill requires that hospitals receiving federal funds promptly provide EC upon patient request, in addition to medically, factually accurate and unbiased written and oral information about EC to women who survive sexual assault.

 Reduce Teen Pregnancy: Thirty-four percent of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 -- about 820,000 pregnancies a year. Eight in ten of these pregnancies are unintended. The bill would provide funding for grants to public and private entities to establish or expand teen pregnancy prevention programs and for comprehensive sexuality education.

 Ensure that Federally -Funded Programs Provide Medically Accurate Information: Despite overwhelming public support for comprehensive sex education that includes medically accurate information about contraception and STDs, government-funded abstinence-only programs are precluded from discussing contraception except to talk about failure rates. A December 2004 review of federally-funded abstinence-only programs by the Minority Staff for the House Committee on Government Reform found that many federally funded abstinence-only programs distort public health data and misrepresent the effectiveness of contraception. The bill ensures that information provided about the use of contraception as part of any federally funded sex education, family life education, abstinence education, comprehensive health education or character education is medically accurate and shall include the health benefits and failure rates of such use.

We, the undersigned, call on members of our Congress to increase affordable family planning services, for reduction in teen pregnancies, and to promote compassion for survivors of sexual assault.

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The Prevention First Act petition to Women and those who support family planning was written by Christine and is in the category Health at GoPetition.