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Could Title X Changes Undermine Family Planning in KY?

Polling shows eight in 10 Kentuckians believe the decision to get pregnant is one of the most important choices a person can make. (Pixabay)
Polling shows eight in 10 Kentuckians believe the decision to get pregnant is one of the most important choices a person can make. (Pixabay)
August 8, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Groups are voicing concern that threats to the federal program known as Title X could undermine family-planning resources for Kentuckians.

Title X offers reproductive-health services and other preventive care, but the Trump administration wants to shift the program's focus toward fertility awareness and abstinence instead of other birth-control methods.

Katie Sullenetrop, vice president of Power to Decide, which partners with All Access EKY on birth-control access and education, said a majority of Kentuckians support policies that improve access to a full range of birth control options for people age 18 and older.

"We hear all the time, 'Oh, we're a conservative region, and it's cultural that we don't want to address this,' but in the polling, people are supportive of efforts to reduce unplanned pregnancy," she said. "And so, how can we have open and honest conversations about what it takes to decide when to get pregnant?"

There are 145 Title-X-funded health centers in Kentucky that serve about 46,000 women. They estimate that they help prevent 15,000 unintended pregnancies each year.

Polling also shows that eight in 10 Kentuckians believe the decision to get pregnant is one of the most important decisions people can make. Sullentrop said most understand that access to birth control can help women better plan for their futures.

"Almost nine in 10 believe that the power to decide if and when to get pregnant has direct impact on health outcomes, and education and economic opportunity, particularly for young women in the region," she said. "So, there is a lot of support."

According to data from the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, without publicly funded family planning, Kentucky's number of unintended pregnancies would nearly double. All Access EKY is working in 10 Appalachian counties to increase awareness and access to reproductive health services.

Information on the poll is online at allaccesseky.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY