Tester Slams Washington for Jeopardizing Women’s Health Clinics

Senator Votes to Protect Health Care Funding for Montana Families

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today blasted the U.S. Senate for narrowly voting against Montana families and rural communities.

Tester joined Republicans and Democrats in opposing the controversial, costly legislation that makes it easier for states to refuse critical Title X funding to certain women’s health clinics.

“This vote threatens clinics that serve thousands of Montanans and save taxpayers millions of dollars,” Tester said. “It means gutting the country’s only dedicated source of funding for family planning services and it jeopardizes health care in rural communities.”

Earlier this month, Tester wrote a letter to Senate leaders asking them not to bring today’s legislation to the floor for a vote.

“For women in every U.S. state and especially in rural and struggling communities, Title X health centers are a vital resource for preventive and primary care,” Tester wrote. “The recent vote in the House to overturn rules protecting Title X health care centers would deny women access to this care and permit discrimination against providers. We urge you to protect the health and wellbeing of millions of women by committing not to bring this harmful legislation to the Senate floor.”

Title X funding supports 28 health centers across Montana and provides care to almost 20,000 Montanans each year. Forty percent of Title X clients consider these clinics their only source of health care services. Title X is the country’s only federal grant program dedicated to providing low-income, rural, and underserved areas with family planning services and preventive health care, including:

  • Pregnancy tests
  • Contraceptive services
  • Cancer screenings
  •  STD testing
  • Health education and referrals

Without Title X funding, the rate of unintended pregnancies in Montana would increase by two-thirds. And all of this preventive care and education saves taxpayers money. In fact, every dollar invested in Title X saves taxpayers $7 in prevented health care costs. In 2010, Title X funding help save taxpayers $30 million in Montana alone.

Tester has been a strong advocate for women’s access to health care, voting to invest in Title X family planning services this year.