What is the Trump-Pence Administration's "Gag Rule?”
By Planned Parenthood Action Fund | March 7, 2019, 3:12 p.m.
Category: Abortion Access, Attacks on Planned Parenthood
The gag rule would block people from going to Planned Parenthood health centers — leaving many with nowhere to go for care.
Donald Trump has said from day one he wants to control women. With a new gag rule, he and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar are now trying to make it official government policy.
The gag rule is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights. Period. The Trump-Pence administration’s rule bans doctors in the Title X program across the country from telling women how they can safely and legally access abortion. It would make it impossible for patients in the program to get birth control at places like Planned Parenthood, and it prohibits doctors from giving women full information about all of their sexual and reproductive health care options.
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The Trump-Pence administration's gag rule would do three main things:
“Gag” health care providers in the Title X health care program by making it illegal for them to tell their patients how and where they can access abortion safely and legally.
Prevent patients from getting full and accurate information about all of their options. Planned Parenthood won’t withhold critical information from our patients because of our commitment to ethical patient care.
Add new restrictions specifically designed to block patients from coming to Planned Parenthood.
In short, a gag rule would keep women from having full information about ALL of their options, and from getting the best health care possible.
Everyone, regardless of their race, of their income, or where they live, deserves the best medical care and information available. Under this rule, they won’t get it.
Why You Should Care
The gag rule is an attack on Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive care that four million people rely on. Of the four million people Title X serves, two-thirds live under the federal poverty level and nearly half lack insurance. Title X ensures that people with low incomes have access to contraception and gives them more control over their lives, health, careers, and economic security — and a gag rule takes that care away.
The Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule would have devastating effects for women and those seeking sexual and reproductive health care services.
The gag rule would block patients from health care.
Planned Parenthood health centers serve 41 percent of patients who get care through Title X-funded health services — yet this rule is designed to bar those patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers.
Preventing those patients from coming to Planned Parenthood would mean many are left with nowhere else to go, leaving them without access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams. But it doesn’t stop there. The gag rule would apply to 4,000 Title X-funded health care providers across the country, including community health centers, hospital-based clinics, and health departments.
Other health care providers have been clear — they couldn’t fill the gap if Planned Parenthood were no longer allowed to serve these patients. Already, in many counties, Planned Parenthood health centers are the only places that provide uninsured people or people with low incomes the reproductive care they need.
Act now: Stop the gag rule
This would fall the hardest on people of color, LGBTQ people, and people in rural areas.
Because of systemic inequities, many patients who rely on Title X for their health care needs are people of color, LBTQ people, and people in rural areas — all of whom already face significant barriers to accessing health care. Black and African Americans make up 21 percent of Title X patients, and Hispanic and Latino patients make up 32 percent. After being blocked from these health centers, including Planned Parenthood, many patients would have nowhere else to go for care.
Evidence suggest it would have dangerous, widespread effects.
We’re familiar with the consequences of a domestic gag rule because we’ve seen similar dangerous measures in effect. One of the Trump-Pence administration's very first acts in office was to reinstate and expand a "global gag rule," which bans overseas groups from receiving U.S. global health funding if they even so much as mention abortion-related services.
Evidence has shown that the global gag rule leads to increases in unsafe abortion, as well as unintended pregnancies, women dying from pregnancy-related complications, and infant and child deaths. It also leads to health center closures, which leave people with less access to care. We should be ending the global gag rule — not importing a version of it to the U.S.
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