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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman, Democratic Senators Pledge to Right Trump’s Wrong and Fund Planned Parenthood

Senate Democratic Caucus Vows to Protect Women’s Health Care & Offset Loss of Federal Title X Funding

HARTFORD – Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) and a group of Democratic state senators said today that the Senate Democratic caucus will protect women’s health care and provide state funding for Planned Parenthood in Connecticut in order to defend the organization from President Trump’s attack. The dozen Planned Parenthood clinics in Connecticut are now operating under a Trump-ordered gag rule that prohibits them from providing referrals for legal abortion services.

Health care advocates say President Trump’s changes will lead to a decline in the quality of patient care and may force some clinics to close their doors. Federal Title X funding in Connecticut for Planned Parenthood amounts to about $2.1 million per year.

In a letter to Office of Policy and Management Commissioner Melissa McCaw written by Senate President Martin Looney, Sen. Needleman and his fellow Democratic senators asked to work with Commissioner McCaw to find this funding within the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget. In addition, the Senate Democratic caucus plans to make the provision of funding to offset President Trump’s attack on women’s health a major priority in adjusting the Fiscal Year 2021 budget in the next session.

“I am appalled that Planned Parenthood is at risk of losing funding, and I support any and all efforts to help it retain it so it can continue providing vital medical and health services to women across Connecticut,” said Sen. Needleman. “This is an attack on women’s rights and we must stand in opposition to it.” “There appears to be no limit to the number of ways in which the Trump-Pence administration seems determined to harm women, people of color, and the poor regarding access to essential health care,” Sen. Looney said. “Of course over the past two years we have witnessed the president exhibit a callous disregard for tradition and protocol when it comes to decorum in the Oval Office, and now we see that same contempt directed at a half-century old policy of federal funding for women’s health care. Every day brings some new, disgraceful, and frightening attack on America and its citizens.”

“The Trump administration continues to chip away at and deprive thousands of people across this country with the essential healthcare that they need,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). Women’s healthcare, in particular continues to be under attack and it’s unacceptable. We won’t stand for that in our state. In Connecticut, we support a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare and we plan on doing everything we can to ensure that Planned Parenthood gets the funding it needs to continue serving the thousands of women who utilize and rely on their services.”

For more than 40 years, federally funded Title X family planning clinics across America have ensured access to a broad range of family planning and related health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals, including breast and cervical cancer detection, screening and treatment; treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; HIV testing, and contraception.

But President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence recently pushed for a change to Title X Funding that prohibits Title X health care providers from counseling patients about abortion. The rule was announced in February, and it is currently being challenged in court in 20 states. A federal appeals court ruled last month that the Trump-Pence policy changes can take effect even as those lawsuits are pending.

In 2019, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England -- which operates 12 health clinics in Connecticut -- received $2.1 million in federal Title X funding (about 5% of its total budget).

In Connecticut in 2017, nearly 44,000 patients received services through Title X funding; about a third of those patients were women under the age of 25, about a third earned less than $12,000 a year, a third were Latino and a third African-American.

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