ABCD thanks Boston City Council, officials for stepping up to support its longtime status as Title X grantee

Source: ABCD

After shocking shutout, organization regains funding to secure critical family planning and reproductive health services for marginalized communities

ABCD to continue serving 30,000 under-resourced residents
through extensive family planning and health services network

(BOSTON, MA) – Thanks to a unanimous resolution by the Boston City Council and urgent appeals from Greater Boston’s congressional delegation, as well as from state and municipal allies, ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) will continue to provide the same high quality family planning and health services to Greater Boston’s most vulnerable residents that it has for 55 years.

On March 29, 2022, just days before the April 1st start of the next grant period, ABCD received notice from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services/Office of Population Affairs that its proposal to renew its status as the region’s Title X grantee had been favorably reviewed but not funded.

ABCD immediately engaged its elected representatives at the city, state and federal levels, and the response was immediate and impassioned.

ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew praised the Boston City Council for their swift and decisive action in unanimously passing a resolution in support of fully funding ABCD’s Title X proposal.

“The Boston City Council quickly mobilized, and we could not be more grateful,” Drew said. The effort was led by Councilors Michael Flaherty and Ruthzee Louijeune and included Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, Councilor Frank Baker, Councilor Lydia Edwards, Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, Councilor Kendra Lara, Councilor Julia Mejia and Councilor Erin Murphy, all of whom are members of the ABCD Board of Directors.

The resolution in support of fully funding ABCD Title X funding states:

WHEREAS, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) has participated in the Title X program for nearly 50 years, and is an anti-poverty community action agency established in 1962 to empower marginalized people by equipping them with the tools to overcome poverty through a comprehensive approach of systematically addressing a range of health and racial barriers faced by households in poverty; and

WHEREAS, Since 1973, ABCD has provided critical Title X health services throughout Massachusetts including on-the-ground services to those affected by the AIDS epidemic, assistance to teen mothers by providing child care while they continued their education, and pioneering programs for early diagnosis and treatment of infertility; and …

… WHEREAS, For 50 years, Title X family planning clinics have played a critical role in ensuring access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals and Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED: That the Boston City Council go on record in support of ABCD’s Title X Family Planning grant for the full term of its application, and in opposition of the decision by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office Population Affairs to defund this all-important program.

“We are fortunate to have elected officials who are in touch with their underserved constituents and are ready to take action. We offer special thanks to Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, and Congressman Jake Auchincloss who reached out to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to advocate for support of the program and ABCD’s receipt of Title X funding for the full five-year grant period,” said Drew.

ABCD is also grateful to state legislators, led by the Boston delegation, who allocated funding to support the organization’s family planning services in the FY23 House budget. ABCD is seeking similar support from the state Senate as it considers it annual budget proposal.

Additionally, ABCD sent a letter to Secretary Becerra on April 8, 2022, detailing its achievements in the Title X arena and Boston’s critical need for continued funding. 

The ABCD Title X Family Planning program provides services that respond to critical needs in low-income neighborhoods where previously high rates of infant mortality and teen pregnancy have been dramatically reduced by its presence and families can plan pregnancies and receive needed health care.

This program is based in neighborhood health centers founded in the 1960s by ABCD and staffed in large part by health care workers from the community, health centers where patients feel safe, represented, and have confidence in the care provided. Under this neighborhood health center umbrella, ABCD developed one of the largest, most effective and lowest cost-per-patient programs for delivering reproductive care in the country under Title X.

The letter denying Title X funding of $2.8 million for each of the next three years states that ABCD’s application was “reviewed favorably by the review panel based on the review criteria,” but it would not be receiving funding for the grant period beginning April 1.

The organization welcomed news of funding to sustain its Title X programs during the coming year and thanks Secretary Becerra and HHS for the funding. Nevertheless, the delivery of reproductive and health services for almost 30,000 women, men and families living in poverty—primarily people of color—remains up in the air for the entire five-year grant cycle.

Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. Funded through the U.S. Department of Health & Huma Services, Title X seeks to ensure access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals and others.


Read the full resolution:

About ABCD

ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) is Greater Boston’s anti-poverty agency. A nonprofit community action agency, ABCD provides under-resourced residents in the Boston and Mystic Valley areas with the tools, support, and resources they need to transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Each year, the organization serves more than 100,000 individuals, elders and families through a broad range of innovative initiatives as well as long-established, proven programs and services. For 60 years, ABCD has been deeply rooted in each neighborhood it serves, empowering individuals and families and supporting them in their quest to live with dignity and achieve their highest potential. For more, please visit bostonabcd.org.

June 13, 2022

Lee Phenner