(PRESS RELEASE) Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights denounced the Trump administration’s latest move to block women’s access to critical health care through a proposed rule that would prohibit granting federal Title X family planning funds to family planning providers that also perform abortion. The so-called “Domestic Gag rule” would create new, unnecessary barriers for patients seeking access to birth control and other health services from their trusted reproductive health care providers. In addition, the rule would prevent health care providers across the country who receive federal funding from referring patients for safe, legal abortions.
Said Nancy Northup, President &, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Millions of women rely on Title X providers for a full range of lifesaving health services. This shameful, unethical rule politicizes health care and puts women’s access to crucial family planning services at risk. Now, patients can no longer be sure that they will receive full information about their health care options.
“All patients need to be able to trust their providers, to feel that they’ve been heard, and that they’re informed of their options.
“At the end of the day, this rule hurts women and gets in the way of women getting the care they need. There’s no other way to look at it.”
Title X is the nation’s only dedicated family planning safety net program. The program serves more than 4 million low-income, uninsured, LGBT, rural, and young people across the country and provides vital family planning and preventive care, such as birth control, cancer screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted infections. The Trump administration’s proposed rule is a direct attack on this essential program.
This isn’t the first attack on Title X under the Trump administration’s anti-woman agenda. Earlier this month, reproductive rights advocates filed two lawsuits – one by Planned Parenthood affiliates and another by the American Civil Liberties Union and NFPRHA – challenging changes to Title X family planning grants announced earlier this year. The Title X changes prioritize abstinence-only and natural family planning over comprehensive reproductive health services, putting the health of millions of low-income patients at risk.
Mounting evidence shows that the exclusion of reproductive health care providers from publicly funded health programs harms health outcomes, widens disparities, and erects new barriers to care. These barriers are particularly pronounced for those who already have trouble accessing care—including low-income individuals, people living in rural communities, and people of color.
A previous version of the domestic gag rule was imposed by President Reagan in 1988, and was subsequently challenged in court by the National Family Planning &, Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). While it was upheld in in Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991), the domestic gag rule was never implemented and was rescinded under President Clinton only two years later after intense opposition from the medical community and Congress. More than 100 public health organizations have already come out in opposition to this Domestic Gag rule.