Kelly Thibert, DO, MPH National President
American Medical Student Association
Sterling, VA – March 30, 2017: Today, the Senate voted to overturn a rule that protects health care for more than 4 million people who rely on Title X, the nation’s family planning program. This rule reinforces that it is unlawful for state politicians to block people from accessing care at a health center because the facility also provides safe, legal abortions. This effort comes despite the fact that courts have already ruled it illegal to block people from care at Planned Parenthood and other trusted providers and even though Title X funds have been prohibited from going toward abortions since the program’s inception.
Title X, the nation’s family planning program, which was first enacted in 1970, is meant to ensure that no matter a person’s ZIP code, health insurance status or how much money they have, that they are able to access basic, preventive reproductive health care. By supporting young and low-income women through Title X, they are still able to access lifesaving care such as cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, birth control and well-woman exams. The Guttmacher Institute notes that 6 in 10 women who access care from a family planning health center consider it their main source of health care. For 4 in 10, it’s their only source of care.
“Access to high-quality family planning care is essential in women’s lives,” said Dr. Kelly Thibert, AMSA’s national president. “When we see the outcomes of these health and economic benefits provided by Title X services, we also see positive outcomes extend to the families and communities of those women. To weaken this program by any means would be a huge hit to the public health of our nation.”
AMSA believes that reproductive health services, reproductive rights and reproductive health education—as a means for women and adolescents to have self-determination in all aspects of their reproductive lives, including sexuality, health, and parenthood—are essential to women’s and families’ overall health and well-being. To that end, we support universal and readily available access to men’s and women’s reproductive health services and education as a means for improving health disparities.
It is the responsibility of physicians to promote the health of communities, which includes ensuring access to comprehensive reproductive health care. We should be free to fulfill our ethical obligations to patients and society, without political interference, no matter where we, as physicians, choose to practice. AMSA will continue to support women, our future patients, by respecting their autonomy and advocating for comprehensive reproductive health care and preventive services, no matter what.
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at http://www.amsa.org.