The Vital Role of Title X Health Centers, State Spotlight on California and Virginia, and More
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Beyond the Beltway Bulletin is a monthly newsletter from Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Our goal is to make it easier for you to get the latest policy news and ideas when it comes to the positive steps that states are taking to increase information about and access to contraception. We hope this information will inspire and support you to take action in your state. 

We’d like to hear from you, so write to us with feedback or ideas. Your colleagues can sign-up here.

 

Title X

New Map Illustrates the Vital Role that Title X Health Centers Play in Providing Access to Women in Need

Title X provides over four million low-income individuals a year with access to high-quality contraceptive services. With the threat of the domestic gag rule and other recent attacks on Title X, we looked at what would happen to contraceptive deserts if these critical health centers went away. If Title X health centers were eliminated it would impact all 50 states. It would mean 2.6 million more women in counties without access to a single health center that provides the full range of birth control methods. For example, in Florida, 132,490 women would lose access, as would 206,710 women in Virginia, and 130,630 women in Oklahoma.

Three first term Congresswomen from Pennsylvania; Chrissy Houlahan, Madeleine Dean, and Mary Gay Scanlon wrote an opinion piece to argue just how important these clinics are in their communities. “Attacks on our communities’ most vulnerable populations are unacceptable. We know how dangerous cutting safety-net providers, such as Planned Parenthood, out of Title X will be. With the implementation of this new rule, many Pennsylvanians would be forced to go without health care.” In Pennsylvania, Title X serves nearly 170,000 people in 169 health centers.

We hope you will find this map useful when making the case to policymakers about the importance of protecting the integrity of the program. 

State Spotlight

California
One of the few states to
stem the tide in restricting access to abortion, last week the California Senate passed SB24. The bill would expand access to medical abortion on campus for students at public four-year colleges and universities. By doing so, it would reduce barriers caused by traveling to other counties or areas of the state and the missed class and work obligations that can result from such travel. The implementation of this bill will be fully supported by a consortium of private funders. To learn more about the coalition working to advance this legislation, click here.

Virginia

A two-year pilot program to increase education about and access to LARC, for women who choose it as their preferred contraceptive method, will continue as intended after the governor vetoed an amendment to this year's budget. The original provision that created the pilot program passed with bi-partisan support last year. It was included in the state's 2018–2019 biennial budget, which set aside federal TANF funds for the pilot. 

Research

The Impact of Early Sexual Initiation on Boys
Recently, the New York Times reported on a study published in JAMA Pediatrics that examined early sexual initiation among boys in the U.S., using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and the National Survey of Family Growth. “The researchers found striking geographical variations in the percent of young men reporting early sexual initiation, within some cities, such as Memphis, Milwaukee, and Chicago, reporting much higher percentages. Of the males from Memphis, 25 percent reported early initiation, while in San Francisco, only 5 percent did,” Perri Klass, M.D. writes in the New York Times. Certainly, this is a reminder that #TalkingIsPower, so start early and talk often.

#TalkingIsPower
Start Early. Talk Often. You are more powerful than you think


Though May is drawing to a close, it's never too late to spark meaningful conversation. Talking is Power Month, a national effort to spark meaningful conversations about sex, love, relationships and contraception between young people and the champions and allies who care about them. The thought of these conversations can sometimes be intimidating, but we’ve got you covered. Whether you are a parent or a champion, click here for tools to start these conversations. 

In addition, the #TalkingIsPower campaign is our contribution to Sex Ed for All Month, which focuses on the sexual health information, access, and rights young people need and deserve in order to make healthy decisions for themselves and live life on their terms. Learn more about #TalkingIsPower and #SexEdForAll here.

Power Updates
Power to Decide's latest round up of research that you might have missed includes an article on the health care needs of pregnant sexual minority women, clinician and staff perceptions of the barriers to providing contraception in primary care, and more.