Largely thanks to Senate Republicans, the global and domestic gag rules remain in place — threatening birth control and other crucial reproductive health care for millions.
What Just Happened?
The TL;DR: We had a chance to block the domestic and global gag rules — which are both dangerous, unethical restrictions that threaten reproductive health care for millions of people — in the final annual government spending bills. But despite our champions’ fierce efforts, Republican leaders blocked inclusion of Title X protection and the global gag rule repeal in the final package released on December 16. This means the gag rules remain in place — which is terrible news for everyone trying to access affordable, accessible birth control and other reproductive health care.
All of this drama came after congressional leaders released the text of the final year-end appropriations package. The bill funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2020. Earlier this year, the pro-reproductive health majority in the House of Representatives blocked the domestic and global gag rules in their annual spending bills; however, the final agreement between the House and Senate didn’t include these crucial protections. This is an incredibly disappointing development in our years-long effort to stop these dangerous policies.
Ultimately, this, like other Trump-Pence administration policies, puts access to health care at risk for millions — especially for those who already struggle to access quality health care. The gag rules in particular hurt patients’ ability to obtain critical reproductive services — such as birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing.
How does the Title X gag rule affect access to sexual and reproductive health care?
We Still Made a Difference in the Fight to Protect Our Care
For every day that we and partners, allies, medical professionals, activists, and independent clinics fought back against and blocked the Title X gag rule, nearly 4,500 Title X patients got care that they might not have been able to receive. That’s more than 3 million people over the course of this fight.
Since the final rule was issued in February, we’ve held hundreds of in-state events, worked with dozens of incredible partners, and reached millions of people online raising awareness about these coordinated attacks as we mobilized our supporters to take action.
In nerd talk, here’s what this means: We are going into 2020 building public support and momentum to secure meaningful investments in publicly funded reproductive health care. We’re also redesigning those programs so that they work better for patients and providers in 2021. We sincerely thank you for your tireless efforts to protect access to sexual and reproductive health in the United States and around the globe.
Your Gift Goes 2× Further
Make your year-end gift before December 31 and it will be MATCHED, dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $500,000.
The Title X and global gag rules are cruel and unethical, and the majority of people want their members of Congress to PROTECT access to reproductive health care, not take it away.
The gag rules are part of the broader Trump-Pence agenda to dismantle the health and rights of women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and people of color who face systemic discrimination in the U.S. and around the world. From the religious refusal rule, to the public charge rule, to the sabotage of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, this administration continues to threaten access to health care.
And none of this is okay. Luckily, as we go into 2020 we have a chance — a big one — to remind our members of Congress: they are accountable to us.
To the members of Congress who ignored their constituents and joined the Trump administration’s attacks on our health and rights — you will have to answer for your records.– Alexis McGill Johnson
Acting President and CEO
Planned Parenthood Federation of America