Maryland Is the First and Only State to Protect Title X Family Planning Funds in State Statute

In 2017, Maryland became the first and only state to enact protections to Title X funds in state statute.   We stood by our client during extreme threats on the federal level.


How did this legislative campaign break ground in Maryland and lead the way for the rest of the country?

Public Policy Partners led the campaign to protect Title X funding in Maryland under the threat of federal restrictions. In 2017, Maryland anticipated access to comprehensive family planning services would be compromised by changes in federal rules. Those concerns were realized when the federal government imposed the “gag rule” on family planning providers in the program. With SB 1081/HB 1083 (Senator Kelley/Delegate Pendergrass), the Maryland General Assembly took action. By replacing federal funds with State funds, Maryland has ensured individuals served by Title X would have equitable access to family planning services. Maryland is the first and only state to enact permanent protections for Title X funds.

How did this success boost the profile of the client and lay the groundwork for future successes?

The Title X legislation raised Planned Parenthood of Maryland’s profile in Maryland and across the country. The organization’s success was featured prominently by national and local media outlets; and it has been examined as a model for other states seeking to protect family planning funds. In Maryland’s next legislative session, Planned Parenthood of Maryland used the success as a basis to secure the passage of three pieces of legislation to improve coverage of family planning in private insurance and the Medicaid program.

What was Public Policy Partners strategy to achieve success?

Public Policy Partners’ strategy was to make this a legislative leadership priority in the highest levels of the Maryland General Assembly. We developed messaging that conveyed a sense of urgency, as we knew that restrictions on Title X funding were imminent. This messaging allowed us to engage with media outlets, and other stakeholders on the pressing need to protect family planning funds. We utilized media coverage to reinforce legislators’ commitment on the swift passage of the legislation.

There was no model for this legislation on a State or national level. We needed to start from scratch in drafting the legislation. Our firm conducted painstaking research into the nuances of the intersection of federal rules and State laws. We knew that this type of legislation could be subject to legal scrutiny and potential litigation.

While we had secured enough votes for passage, we knew that legislation would be subject to intense debate and floor maneuvers in both chambers. We collaborated with legislative leadership on an effective strategy to navigate these challenges.

After passage of the bill, we utilized media pressure to ensure the bill would not be vetoed. The Governor chose to let the legislation go into law without his signature.