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 Legislative and Policy Corner

Title X Family Planning Public Comment Period Ends July 31
The public comment period closes on July 31 for a proposed rule to revise the Title X Family Planning program. Further details about how to submit comments as well as the proposed regulation itself are available here. AMCHP encourages you to review the proposed rule for its impact on the populations you serve and consider submitting comments. Among other changes to the Title X program, the proposed rule would disqualify from receiving Title X funds those health care providers or centers that provide referrals for abortion services as well as those providers or centers that are not physically separated from a program that provides abortion services. According to a June 2018 issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the proposed rule could shrink the network of providers that offer low-income women comprehensive family planning services using federal support. Limits on access to care from Title X providers could impact the ability of states to meet Title V National Performance Measures 1 (Well-Woman Visit) and 10 (Adolescent Well Visit).

House Committee Passes Emergency Preparedness Bill, Adds Focus on Pregnant and Postpartum Women, Infants
The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed H.R. 6378, the “Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018” on July 18. This bill would reauthorize several programs to improve the United States’ public health emergency preparedness and response activities. A section-by section summary of H.R. 6378 is available here.

AMCHP is pleased to have played an instrumental role in adding Section 112 to the bill. This section would require HHS to incorporate public health surveillance into the National Health Security Strategy. In particular, it would establish as a goal of the National Health Security Strategy strengthening the ability of state, tribal, territorial, and local health departments to adapt and expand existing public health surveillance infrastructure to capture data on the impact of emerging public health threats to pregnant and postpartum women and infants, including through monitoring birth defects, developmental disabilities, and other short-term and long-term adverse outcomes.

AMCHP Counters U.S. Opposition to Breastfeeding Resolution
The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) led a coalition of 51 national organizations and academic centers in sending a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern over reports that the United States delegation to the 2018 World Health Assembly sought to weaken a resolution designed to support breastfeeding.

“The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented through extensive research,” said the July 13 letter, which was spearheaded by AMCHP and signed by such groups as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Public Health Association, and the March of Dimes.

The letter affirms that the United States government should be supporting globally the same public health practices that it promotes here in the United States. It highlights the commitment the United States has demonstrated to supporting breastfeeding and the significant resources the United States invests in programs to support breastfeeding, including through the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant.

“The position presented by the U.S. to the global community contradicts the very public health practices that we promote domestically,” the groups wrote.

While recognizing that not all women may desire or have the option to breastfeed, the letter asserts that respecting families’ agency in deciding how they feed their children is not in conflict with addressing the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children.

Get Up-to-Date on Federal MCH Policy

The next event in the All-Member National MCH Policy Call series will take place on Thursday, Aug. 2, from 2-3 p.m. ET