Washington, DC—Haywood L. Brown, M.D., president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement in response to the release of new Title X grant application requirements:
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly disagrees with the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services’ (HHS) new grant application guidelines for Title X funding. The guidelines reflect the Trump administration’s continued move away from scientific, evidence-based policies and toward unscientific ideologies. As the only federal program dedicated solely to family planning, these changes to Title X programs restrict access to comprehensive reproductive health care and turn back the clock on women’s health.
“ACOG urged HHS in our comments on the agency’s Draft 2018-2022 Strategic Plan to ensure its components strictly adhere to and promote health policies based on science and evidence. Title X has historically been grounded in evidence-based practices and has a record of success. However, the new guidelines signal a shift away from this by removing mention of the high, national standard for family planning services, the Quality Family Planning recommendations.
“These changes will effectively block Title X patients from the qualified providers of their choice, steering them toward organizations or providers singularly focused on abstinence and fertility awareness methods – political interference at its worst. This will reduce individuals’ options for care and jeopardize their access to the most effective forms of contraception, most notably, long-acting reversible contraception, like the IUD and implant.
“Four million Americans rely on Title X-funded programs to access all FDA-approved methods of contraception and other essential components of care, such as cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. As the largest organization of women’s health care providers, ACOG is gravely concerned about how this departure from science-based principles will erode the standard of care for contraceptive counseling and clinical services.
“After years of progress reducing unintended pregnancy rates—bringing our nation to its lowest rate of teen pregnancy—these changes to the Title X program are shortsighted and hazardous. Our message to HHS is clear: keep politics out of the exam room.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org