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San Jose Mercury News Op Ed: New Title X Family Planning Rules Hurt Families, Economy

January 31, 2019 // San Francisco, CA

Trillium partnered with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (PPMM), the largest Planned Parenthood Affiliate in the country, to co-author an article in the Opinion page of the San Jose Mercury News titled “­­­­­­­­­New Title X family planning rules hurt families, economy.”

In this piece, Jodi Neuman, an Investment Manager for Trillium, and Tanuja Bahal, the Board Chair of PPMM, explain why sustainable investors and supporters of accessible health care are concerned by the Trump Administration’s latest efforts to attack the Title X Family Planning Program.

They note: “These new rules will drastically limit the availability and quality of the family planning services funded by Title X, a program that serves mostly low-income people.  For nearly 50 years, Title X has provided significant benefits to women, families, and the economy.”

To read the full op-ed on the SJ Mercury News Opinion page, click here, or scroll down.

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Opinion: New Title X family planning rules hurt families, economy

Trump administration planning to limit availability of family planning services

By Tanuja Bahal and Jodi Neuman

Any day now, the Trump administration is expected to finalize new rules attacking the Title X family planning program that will make birth control and other preventive reproductive health care inaccessible for millions of Americans.  This is an obvious calamity for the women and families that rely on Title X, but it would also weaken the economy Trump claims to care so much about.

These new rules will drastically limit the availability and quality of the family planning services funded by Title X, a program that serves mostly low-income people.  For nearly 50 years, Title X has provided significant benefits to women, families, and the economy.

As sustainable and responsible investors and supporters of accessible health care, we are deeply concerned about the impacts of the new rules.  Women achieve higher educational levels, compensation, and workforce participation when they have access to the reproductive health services supported by Title X because they are able to plan their families and careers.

The resulting economic benefits are clear. A McKinsey report shows that from 1970 — when birth control became widely available — to 2009, women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 48 percent. Without this addition of almost 38 million women to the workforce, the U.S. economy would have been 25 percent smaller.  And a study from PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that raising women’s   employment levels to men’s could increase GDP 5 percent.

Restricting Title X would also mean closing a door on young people whose entry into the health system often begins with easily accessible reproductive health services in order to avoid unplanned pregnancies and receive basic wellness checks.

Right here in Silicon Valley, there are more than 13,000 young people who are unemployed or not in school and reliant on subsidized family planning services to help get their futures on track.  Think of the effects on public health and the economy if this essential care is suddenly taken away from millions of teens and young adults across the country.

The regressive rules would also eliminate requirements that Title X-funded health care providers offer a broad range of medically approved family planning methods.  The rules would block federal funds from providers that offer abortion services and impose a “gag rule” that prohibits medical professionals from even mentioning referrals for abortion.

This means Planned Parenthood and other Title X providers would have to choose between accepting Title X funding and providing comprehensive family planning services.  Four governors have already indicated that they would turn down Title X funding if the new rules are finalized because they’re concerned about health outcomes, especially for lower-income residents in their states.

Unfortunately, we’ve already seen the negative impacts of a landscape without accessible family planning services.  In Texas, where dozens of reproductive health care centers closed because of politically motivated funding cuts, accessibility of the most effective contraceptives declined by more than 30 percent, and the teen birth rate climbed by more than 3 percent.
That means higher social costs and less mobility into a skilled job market.  Any policy that impairs workforce participation poses a real challenge to companies, and leaving Title X alone is one obvious solution to enabling more people to enter the workforce when they’re best prepared.

A robust family planning program supports healthy Americans and contributes to a thriving economy. Investors and community health advocates want to keep it that way.

Tanuja Bahal, is board chair of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in Silicon Valley
Jodi Neuman is an investment manager based in the San Francisco office of Trillium Asset Management

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