The TL;DR: if you’re already in on why we have to fight for Title X, scroll to the bottom. If you’re not quite there yet, this is the closest Donald Trump and Mike Pence have gotten to “defunding” Planned Parenthood yet — and we can’t let them succeed.
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood isn’t a thing. And it's really frustrating that we have to talk about it like it is. But the content behind this phrase is really, really important: anti-reproductive health politicians use it to score cheap political points when what they’re really doing is blocking patients from getting care from public health programs.
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood really means blocking access to health care. Remember when the Trump-Pence administration tried to repeal the ACA? Yeah, if they succeeded, that would’ve kept people from accessing health care — including at Planned Parenthood. The current attack on Title X? Planned Parenthood and other providers, which in many cases are the only place that people can access for care, have been forced out of the nation’s program that has successfully been funding affordable birth control and other sexual and reproductive health care for nearly 50 years. And in their place, people might have: no options, or terrible options, like Obria —whose “health centers” don’t even provide contraception.
Title X Represents Access to Reproductive Health Care for Millions
Here’s the thing: it's hard to talk about this stuff. When people don’t have health care, people get sick. People go through hardships and trauma they shouldn’t have to deal with. People will delay accessing health care they need or just go without, which could cause health problems later on. When people don’t have health care, they struggle to take care of themselves and their families. And when it comes to “defunding” Planned Parenthood, this stuff with Title X?
It is as close as Donald Trump and Mike Pence have ever gotten to taking away reproductive health care. But it’s also the fiercest we (and our 13 million supporters) have ever been. These attacks on Planned Parenthood don’t exist in a vacuum. The people in this administration have spent years deliberately executing cruel, xenophobic, racist, classist, bigoted attacks. Attacks meant to hold down people, who are simply trying to access birth control that they can afford, and communities that have faced discrimination, systemic barriers, and so much more in so many parts of their lives. “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know that we were seeds.”
So here’s the deal with Title X: every day, including today, nearly 11,000 people go to health centers to get free or low-cost reproductive health care. They get cancer screenings, STI tests, birth control, sexual and reproductive health care education – all through the Title X program. It has been an important and successful federal program, and what we should be doing is looking to expand it. Instead, Donald Trump has enacted a “gag rule,” violating medical ethics, and violating the law. This rule will force Planned Parenthood and any other provider —that refuse to pretend that abortion isn’t a normal part of health care — out of the program. The only recourse? Congress.
According to the Trump administration, there’s abortion, and then there’s “acceptable” care.— New York Times Editorial Board
That’s where you come in.
At the end of September, Congress could vote on a bill with language that can stop the gag rule. The House and Senate have to agree. And we have enough champions to make sure this happens — but only if we keep the pressure on high for the next month. Can we count on you to help?
#IStandWithPP: The Plan To Save Title X
Here’s the plan.
Call Congress today at 202-601-3441: Yeah, again. And again. Hot tip — congressional offices note the number of calls and what people are saying, and we can’t let members of Congress think for a second that we aren’t grateful when our champions fight for us and watching for when they don’t.
Take 2 minutes and call your Senators today. Find a sample script of what to say here.
Hold them accountable: join the research project. We’re putting together a public checklist on every member of Congress to show whether or not they’re fighting for Title X funding and birth control. It’s a big lift, and we could really use your help.
It will allow us to move quickly in September, and remind members that their constituents are researching them, watching what they do, and making sure their actions match up with their words. They work for us, and they can’t forget that.
Join the #ProtectX Week of Action (August 16-26). This week while members of Congress are home, we are showing up at their offices, at town hall meetings, and at other events to make sure Congress passes the Title X Protection in September.
Here’s what you can do to hold their feet to the fire:
Plan an Event for the Wednesday, August 21 Day of Action: Drop by the offices of your members of Congress on August 21 to Stand with Planned Parenthood. Pick a time during business hours to drop by with a crew in a pink shirt or Planned Parenthood pin. Register your event on our online events tool so that other folks can join you. Once you have your event registered, use our recruitment guide to build attendance for your event.
Meet with Your Members During Recess: Schedule a meeting with your members of Congress or their staff between now and August 26th. Find more guidance on recess here and use our toolkit to prep for meeting with your member. Use this Title X Checklist to find out where your members of Congress stand to prepare for your meeting. Register your event here to show the world we are showing up!
Attend a Town Hall: Find a town hall event your member is holding and hold their feet to the fire on Title X. Here is some more information about attending a town hall event or bird-dogging elusive members of Congress.
Share your story. Tweet it, post it, call a friend and tell them about it (if you feel comfortable). We’ll have a page with some guidance on this to share soon.
Tell your friends. This is a complicated story to tell, and there’s a lot going on. But when it comes to fighting for birth control and reproductive health care, this is the fight we can win. Talk to your community and ask them to take action.
You might be surprised at how many people you can inspire and what a huge difference that can make!
There isn’t really a silver lining to this one: the time to hold each other up and to push for the world we believe in, is now.
Just remember: Planned Parenthood stands with you.