Mitt Romney Pledges to Eliminate Title X

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to eliminate Title X, the federal program established by President Nixon and Congress in 1970 to help low-income men and women pay for family planning. That pledge is right on his website:, about 2/3 of the way down the page. Elimination of Title X would increase the rate of unintended pregnancy among those already on other entitlement programs such as WIC, Healthy Start, and Food Stamps and thereby INCREASE government spending. You may read more about Title X at the web page of the Office of Population Affairs. You may read more about Romney's proposal in the Washington Post.

Programs like Title X are funded by Congress, so one might think that Romney's position will turn out be little more than rhetoric, but that depends on the legislation that gets through Congress. On July 18, the House Appropriations Committee voted to zero out (eliminate) the Title X program after 42 years of funding family planning, including vasectomy, for low-income families and individuals. The bill would also reduce overall funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by 10%; reduce Teen Pregnancy Prevention program funding by $85 million, with a $15 million increase for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs (despite the fact that abstinence-only programs are ineffective); and eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

Given his history of support for family planning programs, we could expect President Obama to veto legislation that eliminates Title X, but if Republicans gain control in both houses of Congress and if Romney wins the Presidential Election, it is likely that Title X will be eliminated or its funding drastically reduced in the fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2013. Low-income couples and single men should consider the possibility that Title X may no longer be available as of July 1, 2013, and because of program cuts for this fiscal year, some counties may have exhausted their 2012-2013 vasectomy funds well before July 1, 2013.

For updates about the Title X program, please visit the website of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.