On June 7th, during a time of great uncertainty, trepidation and confusion, Griswold v. Connecticut had its 52nd anniversary. This landmark Supreme Court case helped pave the way for Arizonans and the rest of the nation to have access to contraception, as well as family planning programs, services, and support. The 1965 ruling affirmed the right of married couples to use contraception and recognized an individual’s right to privacy in family planning matters. This case led to the creation of federally funded Title X programs, which provide family planning and essential health care to 4.1 million people every year.
On the day of this important anniversary, I was in Washington, D.C. attending the Family Planning Council of America’s annual meeting. I had the opportunity to visit with Senator Flake’s staff and with Congresswoman Sinema. In addition, a Congressional Briefing was coordinated by the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) and Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) welcomed everyone to the briefing. This was an effective way to provide vital information to members of Congress and their staff about Title X and the services it supports across the country.
Educating our policymakers and other stakeholders is imperative to showing the impact such groundbreaking cases have had on improving the health of our state and nation. For example, in Arizona, for every dollar of public funding spent on family planning programs, the state saves $11.27 in Medicaid-related costs. Research shows that 86% of the decline in teen pregnancy rates is due to improved contraceptive use. Women with planned pregnancies are also more likely to start prenatal care earlier than those with unintended pregnancies, receive more prenatal care throughout their pregnancy, and have higher breastfeeding rates. Despite documented positive outcomes such as these family planning funding continues to come under attack.
As we celebrate the anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, it is critical that policymakers and community leaders stand up for family planning and the network of publicly funded providers who work to meet the health care needs of millions of people in Arizona and across the country.
Brenda L. “Bré” Thomas, Chief Executive Officer