Washtenaw County approves $100k for Planned Parenthood Title X services

Sunday, December 1, 2019 - 3:16pm

.

Design by Lizzy Rueppel

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved $100,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood of Michigan Title X Services to the community on Nov. 20. These services include breast cancer screenings, contraception education, sexually transmitted infection and HIV testing and other wellness exams. Title X funds do not pay for abortion services.  

According to the press release, Planned Parenthood of Michigan serves roughly 10,000 patients in Washtenaw County alone, and was recently stripped of its funding when the Trump administration updated Title X regulations in March. Title X intends to provide health care services to low-income and uninsured individuals at little to no costs.

District 8 Commissioner Jason Morgan said he strongly supported allocating the money to Planned Parenthood.

“We thought it was extremely important to ensure that these other services continue to be provided,” Morgan said. “I think everybody understood the topic that we were looking at. I had a conversation with some folks at Planned Parenthood who outlined the challenges for me.”

After that conversation with Planned Parenthood, Morgan brought in Lori Carpentier, the president of Planned Parenthood Michigan, to talk about funding with the Board of Commissioners at a meeting. The board realized that it needed to start providing these services to the county through the Washtenaw County Health Department, but it would take six months for the county to be ready to provide them.

“We decided we needed to help Planned Parenthood to help bridge that gap so we didn’t have any of these services cut off in the meantime,” Morgan said.

District 9 Commissioner Katie Scott said she was proud that these funds would continue giving women access to Title X services during this transition period to the Health Department.

“No women, regardless of economic conditions, should be denied services like STD testing and cancer screenings,” Scott said.

Without these funds, Morgan said he feared the negative impact in the community would be widespread.

“There are 10,000 (people) who would either not have access to these services or not be able to afford them, and we would have an increase in STD rates, and a potential increase in unplanned pregnancy,” Morgan said.

Scott noted there have been some concerns in the community about the funds being used to support abortion services.

“I have gotten some concerns from people about the county providing services, and some pushback saying they’re providing serives for abortion,” Scott said. “I just have to emphasize every single time that Title X services do not towards providing abortions, they go towards … very important services for women in this county.”

Public Policy senior Brianna Wells, co-president of Students for Choice, said she was glad the county has allocated funds to cover Title X services, though it shows the lack of support coming from the federal government. 

“I think it’s kind of … representative of the federal attack on reproductive rights,” Wells said. “It’s kind of a shame that it’s gotten to that point.”

In addition to providing services to the county, Planned Parenthood also has a presence in local student life. Wells noted that Planned Parenthood had a table at the Ann Arbor Climate Strike, and that Students for Choice often partners with them.

“We’ll collaborate with Planned Parenthood for certain events, and their campus organizer has been really helpful with that respect,” Wells said. “Planned Parenthood has made a lot of effort to research out and support students organizations as much as they can.”

Students for Life at the University of Michigan did not respond to multiple requests for comment.