Last night the Trump-Pence administration unveiled their latest attack on women health and rights, a ‘domestic gag rule’ that will prevent people from getting the health care they need. This proposed domestic gag rule will apply to health care providers seeking Title X grants. Title X is the federal program that supports family planning clinics serving low-income communities in the U.S. The proposed domestic gag rule prevents anyone who receives Title X funding from referring their patients for safe, legal abortion services.
The proposed rule removes the guarantee that patients get full and accurate medical information from their doctors. The rule would allow participating health care providers to withhold any information about abortion services—including potentially life-saving information—from the patient. Under the new rule, participating health care providers would no longer be required to inform patients of all medically approved methods of birth control. Last, the proposed rule blocks the awarding of Title X funding to any provider, including Planned Parenthood, that provides abortion services through an affiliate office.
Robert Walker, President, Population Institute, commented on the proposed domestic gag rule:
In many communities, denying funding to Planned Parenthood and other highly qualified Title X health care providers could have a severe impact on women’s health care. Low-income women desiring the health care services supported by Title X should be able to get those services from a provider they trust. Slamming the door on Planned Parenthood may please social conservatives who oppose abortion and contraceptive services, but it does not help the people being served by Title X. It is, in fact, a subversion of the very reason the law was created in the first place. Title X was designed to improve access to health care services, not to restrict it.
Shutting Planned Parenthood and other qualified health care providers out of the Title X program will limit access to a wide range of health care services, including cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. At present, 4 out of 10 Title X patients receive health care services from a clinic run by Planned Parenthood. If this rule is adopted, many will have nowhere else to turn.
America’s teen pregnancy rate has fallen to an historical low and the rate of unintended pregnancy has fallen to a 30-year low. That progress, unfortunately, could be reversed by this new rule. Shame on the Trump administration.