Every year, women in the United States experience 3.4 million unintended pregnancies, many of which lead to hardship for women and their families, tough choices, and, for some, abortion. The use of effective contraception reduces the number of unintended pregnancies and, thus, the need for abortion. As a matter of public health, it is essential to ensure that contraception is available to women who need it.
Enacted in 1970 with broad bipartisan support, Title X of the Public Health Service Act is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to family-planning and reproductive-health care. Title X has been a pivotal part of the nation’s family-planning program for more than 45 years, providing millions of women with services ranging from contraception to pap smears and breast-cancer screening. Many women rely solely on Title X clinics for their basic health care. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed family planning as one of the ten great public-health achievements of the last century and recognized Title X as having contributed significantly to the advancements made in this area of public health.