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One-Year After Planned Parenthood Forced Out of Title X, GOP Senators Continue to Put Birth Control Access at Risk

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 19, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

Washington, DC — A year ago today, as part of his comprehensive efforts to block access to Planned Parenthood health centers and “defund” the organization, Donald Trump forced Planned Parenthood health centers and many other providers out of the Title X program, using a cruel and unethical gag rule. Title X is the nation's only dedicated federal program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. According to new data released today by the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), since the gag rule went into effect last year, providers in 34 states have been forced out of  the program, with more than 1.5 million people across the country having lost access to Title X-supported services, including affordable birth control and STI testing, as compared with 2018. Meanwhile, by prohibiting health care providers that receive Title X funds from providing abortion referrals to their patients, the rule restricts the level of care provided to the patients who are still getting services through the program, and has allowed health clinics that offer inaccurate, inadequate care to receive funding instead.

Trump depends on his enablers in the Senate to support his out-of-touch policies on reproductive health care. U.S. Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), among others, refused to stand up to Trump’s gag rule, a policy that disproportionately affects people of color and people with low incomes, due to systemic racism in the health care system. Nor did they push to advance legislation that would have undone this harmful policy, as the House of Representatives did. These elected officials are willingly jeopardizing access to reproductive care and ignoring the needs of Arizonans, Montanans, Iowans and people in every state in the nation who rely on Planned Parenthood and the Title X program for their reproductive health care services. 

Statement from Jenny Lawson, executive director, Planned Parenthood Votes:

“President Trump has made it his mission to gut access to reproductive health care services, ranging from birth control to STI testing to breast and cervical cancer screenings — but he hasn’t been alone. While these Senators running for re-election try to rewrite their records, their inaction makes them complicit in upholding these cruel policies. Millions of people, many of whom are people of color, now face even greater obstacles to essential reproductive health care because of the discriminatory gag rule.  Senators McSally, Daines, and Ernst are forcing their constituents to pay the price and simply can’t be trusted to protect access to health care like birth control. Voters won’t forget it at the ballot box in November.”

The senators’ support for Trump’s discriminatory gag rule is not the only time they’ve ignored the voices of their constituents and put access to reproductive health care at risk. They also refused to speak up when the Supreme Court ruled last month in favor of two Trump administration rules allowing employers and colleges to deny people birth control coverage because of their own personal and moral objections — refusing to condemn the ruling that was supported in full by Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.  

NFPRHA also released state by state stats:  

  • In Arizona, Planned Parenthood health centers served 53% of all Title X patients in the state in 2018. Trump’s gag rule stripped each of those very same health centers in Arizona of Title X funding.  

  • In Iowa, the six Planned Parenthood health centers participating in Title X provided care for 44% of the state’s patients in 2018  — all have been forced out of the program. 

  • In Montana, the five Planned Parenthood health centers participating in Title X provided care for 44%  of patients in the state in 2018— all have been forced out of the program. 

While their constituents were facing the consequences of Trump’s gag rule, these senators did nothing to stop the cruel policy:

  • McSally sided with the Trump administration when it implemented the gag rule that forced Planned Parenthood health centers out of the Title X program, which provides affordable birth control, STI tests, cancer screenings, and more.

  • Ernst and Daines applauded the Trump administration when it implemented the gag rule that forced Planned Parenthood health centers out of the Title X program.

  • Tillis and Gardner attacked access to affordable birth control and other vital reproductive health services by standing with the Trump administration's dangerous Title X gag rule, doing nothing to protect the bipartisan program that helps their constituents with low incomes access the reproductive health care they need. 

People deserve senators who will put partisan politics aside and fight for their rights to reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood Votes is confident that Mark Kelly in Arizona, Steve Bullock in Montana, and Theresa Greenfield in Iowa are up to the task. 


Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.