Title X is the only federal program dedicated to providing family planning services. It serves as a family planning safety net, providing care to young, low-income, and racially and ethnically diverse people who may lack access to services. CORE recently published a brief describing how the program has changed in recent years, and how these changes have impacted Wisconsinites’ access to family planning services.
In 2019, the Trump administration issued new rules that prohibited federal funding to Title X family planning grantees that perform or refer for abortion services, or even provide information about where a patient can obtain abortion services. Due to the 2019 rules, the federal Office of Population Affairs (OPA) withdrew all Title X funding from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) as of April 1, 2019. PPWI had been the sole Title X grantee in Wisconsin for 47 years, from 1971 to September 2018. Under the Biden administration, in 2021 OPA issued new regulations for the Title X program that reversed the 2019 rules. It is again possible for family planning providers that also provide abortion services to apply directly for the Title X funds.
In 2018 a new Wisconsin state law prohibited the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WI DHS) from distributing any of its Title X funds to agencies that provide or are affiliated with organizations that provide abortion services. This amounts to a Wisconsin-specific gag rule. Since 2019, WI DHS has been the sole Wisconsin grantee. Under the revised 2021 rules, family planning providers in Wisconsin that also provide abortion services may apply directly to the federal government for Title X funds, but none have done so yet.
The 2019 rules, the new state law, and COVID-19 have had a major impact on the Title X program in Wisconsin. As of May 2022, Wisconsin has 39 Title X funded sites—a 33% decrease since 2018. This has resulted in more than an 80% decline in patients served between 2018 and 2020. Recent research by Columbia University and the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness have shown that youth, Latinx individuals, and undocumented Wisconsinites are most burdened by these changes.
When combined with recent changes to abortion legality and access in Wisconsin, reduced scope and access to Title X funded family planning programs will likely have significant consequences for Wisconsinites’ reproductive autonomy, including access to contraception.
Read the full brief here.