Why POC, In Particular, Should Be Paying Attention To The Proposed Changes To Title X Funding
"The effects on us brown skin girls and boys can’t be ignored."
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As a sex blogger and creator of All The F.U.Q.s, talking sexual auto-erotic asphyxiation is a hobby of mine and fun to talk about. But this time around, there is another type of gagging going on that we need to be aware of — especially as people of color.
I’m talking about Title X and the changes coming down the pipeline that will, like most things, affect people of color and the disenfranchised more dramatically than anyone else. It may not feel like it, but our bodies and health have become a political chess move in a game already set up against us.
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WHY CARE ABOUT TITLE X?
If your experience was anything like most of my friends, your introduction to a clinic or reproductive healthcare provider was not exactly planned. There may have been a strange odor coming from your nether regions or an itch that you just could not ignore anymore. Or maybe you just wanted to get yourself some free condoms. (Have you seen these prices?!) Maybe you began menstruating, or maybe your period was too late to ignore.
Whatever the reason, two things were true: you needed help fast and your resources were limited. Whatever the age or financial strains, those healthcare providers were there to give you the information and help you needed. What you may not have noted is that many of these clinics benefit from Title X funding.
WHAT IS TITLE X?
Title X is the only federal funding in the United States focused on providing comprehensive family planning and preventative health services. These services include, but are not limited to, STI treatment and testing, contraceptive services, comprehensive family planning services and cancer screenings.
As of 2019, President Trump has placed a gag rule for all healthcare providers who choose to continue to receive Title X funding.
What’s the gag rule? Title X recipients will no longer be able to give information on where to get abortions or give referrals to clinics that perform abortions.
The effects on us brown skin girls and boys can’t be ignored.
- No more money, honey.
For one, Planned Parenthood has recently removed itself from Title X funding to be constrained by this gag rule. Currently, Planned Parenthood helps with 41% of all women that benefit from Title X coverage — and now they don’t get that hefty check anymore.
That means Planned Parenthood, and the other clinics that are pulling out, will now need to find other sources of funding or risk closing down. This means less places to get cancer screenings, contraception and affordable reproductive healthcare.
That also means less places to go, longer wait times at clinics and less services included.
- Misleading information
No only will Title X healthcare recipients not be able to refer you to centers that can assist with abortions, the referral list they will be able to provide may not be your requested one.
Why? Now, faith-based organizations and organizations that do not provide abortions can receive Title X funding and be included (without your consent) on your list of referrals.
These effects are only the tip of the iceberg. Check out All The F.U.Q.s for a more in depth coverage on the piped changes for you to track.
WHAT'S THE DIRECT EFFECT ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR?
So how’s this important to any and every one of us reading this? Check it:
- Drop in maternal healthcare.
Women of color, and more specifically Black women, are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes. If Serena Williams had to fight for her right to be looked at, don’t you think we all need somewhere we can go to be properly looked after?
If there are less places for us to go, longer wait times and more coercive rhetoric being thrown at us, we are being placed at an even higher risk.
- Lower accessibility.
Planned Parenthood alone serves 1.5 million low-income people. And in some areas, Title X funded clinics are the only ones available. That means lower access to affordable reproductive healthcare.
- Lack of full information.
Only doctors or graduate-level degree practitioners will be able to share certain information with patients. Also, since Title X recipients do not have to provide referrals to abortion clinics, that means we will not be getting the comprehensive information that we need and are entitled to.
Here's the point — this convo did not, and does not, have to be boiled down to where you find yourself on abortion rights; but it does have to discuss where you stand on human rights. As a person, don't you want the right to honest information, and the information to come from a place where you feel comfortable? With everything else out of our control, don't we deserve that much? Or are we there yet?