Family planning is one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1999). Nearly 75 percent of women of reproductive age in the United States (64 million) receive at least one family planning or related medical service annually (Mosher et al., 2004). A remarkable consensus has emerged within the scientific and health care communities about the value of reproductive health care and evidence-based guidelines to shape its delivery. Three Institute of Medicine committees, as well as many medical societies and other professional health associations, have endorsed the adoption of evidence-based guidelines for family planning care.
One of the most visible and important public-sector investments in family planning is the federally funded Title X program, which has a long history of providing evidence-based, cost-effective family planning care. Begun during the Nixon administration in 1970, Title X’s mission is to provide grants to public or nonprofit private entities to “assist in the establishment and operation of voluntary family planning projects which shall offer a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services (including natural family planning methods, infertility services and services for adolescents)” — primarily for the benefit of low-income individuals.