First, the X is the Roman numeral for ten, not the letter ‘X’. Saying Title “X” like X-Men brands you a rookie, but we won’t judge.

Many people are more familiar with Title 9 (IX), the law passed in 1972 that prohibits discrimination from participation in educational programs or activities (including school sports) that receive federal funds.

What is Title X? Why is it important? Title X was signed into law in 1972, and is our nation’s publicly funded family planning program. It is run by the federal Office of Population Affairs, based in Washington DC. Title X funds structures and insures quality family planning healthcare in the more than 8,400 service sites in the U.S., including Bridgercare in Bozeman. Service sites include Health Departments, Planned Parenthood clinics, Community Health Clinics (federally qualified health centers) and hospital-based clinics.

Title X is prohibited from funding abortion. Always has been. What it does provide is essential healthcare including pap smears, breast exams, testing and treatment for infections, birth control methods, vaccines and in some settings permanent birth control and prenatal care. The goal is to assist people to plan for and space pregnancies proactively and reduce unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Vulnerable populations including teens and people with low incomes are a priority focus.

Another goal is to give women, men and teens accurate education about sex, reproduction and essential healthcare so everyone has the best possible shot at staying healthy and planning ahead for kids.

Why is this important? During the ‘War on Poverty’ begun by President Johnson during the early 60s, healthcare, government and policy experts recognized that lack of access to family planning information and healthcare widened the gap in health and economic stability between women who could afford these services themselves and those who could not. Unplanned childbearing contributed to reduced health, education and work prospects for poor women and their families.

Today we see the great need to provide equal opportunity to access essential healthcare of all kinds, including sexual healthcare, to enable people to reach their full potential. Title X is needed now more than ever!

Bridgercare is Montana’s largest Title X family planning clinic and serves over 6,000 patients each year. At Bridgercare, we are here to make healthcare as easy, convenient, and affordable as possible. Services include birth control, annual exams, STI testing, LGBTQ care, and more. Same day and next day appointments are available. Insurance, Medicaid, and uninsured patients are all welcome and fees are based on your income.