The following is a media release from the Framingham legislative delegation.
FRAMINGHAM – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law on Monday legislation that provides $8 million to women’s reproductive health organizations in Massachusetts to offset the loss of federal funding through the Trump Administration’s changes to the Title X program.
The measure was supported by Representatives Gentile, Lewis, and Robinson when it was passed by the House of Representatives two weeks ago by an overwhelming vote of 139 to 14.
“I am extremely proud of the timely vote the House took to counter the Trump administration’s dishonorable actions,” said Speaker DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “This action builds upon the House’s legacy of supporting women’s reproductive rights and ensures family practice organizations can continue their important work. Thank you to Chairman Michlewitz and the
committee for its quick work on this issue.”
“Protecting women’s health care facilities is a top priority for the Legislature, and we are happy to see the Governor support this bill,” said Rep. Maria Robinson (D-Framingham).
Under the Title X program, clinical family planning providers focus on serving clients under 250 per cent of the federal poverty level, servicing over 75,000 individuals and families in Massachusetts alone.
In February of this year, the Trump Administration released a Final Rule proposal, upending decades of policy governing these services, and threatening access to safe and effective healthcare to millions nationwide. Changes include federal funding restrictions to projects that refer patients for abortions or who are themselves abortion providers, and a number of provisions designed to reduce access to quality family planning care across the country.
“Though I am appalled by these federal attacks on reproductive healthcare, I was honored to stand with my colleagues in ensuring that low-income patients in the Commonwealth will continue to have access to these critical services” said Representative Jack Patrick Lewis (D-Framingham).
“Massachusetts will continue to provide access to reproductive health care to those who need it despite the destructive efforts of the Trump administration to eliminate funding for essential services,” said Rep. Carmine Gentile (D-Sudbury). “Massachusetts leads the nation in education, health care, and so many other areas because we all work together for the common good.”
The funding, valued at $8 million through Fiscal Year 2019 and 2020, is to ensure the continuity of clinical family planning services, education and counseling, physical exams, and sexually transmitted disease testing and cancer screening at Massachusetts organizations across the Commonwealth.
Last session, the House voted to pass legislation repealing unconstitutional laws that impose criminal penalties for abortion and contraception in Massachusetts, and to ensure that contraception remains co-pay free, regardless of federal changes to Obama-era regulations.