On June 23, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (DAS) and Director of the HHS Office of Population Affairs and HHS Office of Adolescent Health Jessica Swafford Marcella visited Lubbock, Texas to meet with the staff of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas (PPGT). PPGT is a Title X family planning program grantee.
PPGT program leadership spoke to DAS Marcella about the need for high quality, affordable, and accessible reproductive health services in underserved communities, the importance of restoring and expanding the Medicaid family planning program in the state to allow highly qualified providers to participate, and the impact of the Texas SB8 law as well as other restrictive policies impacting reproductive health access. She invited PPGT staff to recommend specific actions that HHS could take to improve Title X family planning services.
PPGT has delivered family planning services for more than 85 years and is partnering with three other Planned Parenthood organizations in Texas to expand Title X services in 56 counties in Texas currently not served or underserved by Title X providers. This expansion will ensure that clients throughout Texas will be able to access any family planning and sexual and reproductive health service they need at no or low cost. All PPGT Title X health centers provide contraception, STI testing and treatment, HIV transmission prevention medication, LGBTQ+ services, pregnancy testing and services, pap smears, clinical breast exams, and mammogram referrals.
Today’s site visit builds on the Biden-Harris administration’s longstanding commitment to sustaining equitable, affordable, client-centered, and high-quality family planning services. This year, HHS awarded approximately $271.5 million in grant funding to restore access to Title X services nationwide and fill service gaps caused by more than a quarter of Title X providers withdrawing from the program over the past two and a half years in response to the previous administration’s Title X rule.
During the site visit DAS Marcella said, “For more than 50 years, Title X family planning clinics have played a critical role in ensuring access to a broad range of family planning and preventive health services. Your efforts are a critical part of continuing that important work into the future.”