The Trump-Pence administration today announced its latest attack on health care access by releasing a Title X gag rule. This rule is overwhelmingly opposed by the medical community and would ban health care providers receiving Title X family planning funds from providing patients with all options pregnancy counseling or referrals for abortion care.
The new gag rule also imposes cost prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements on health centers that provide abortion in an effort to stop Planned Parenthood from participating in Title X. These requirements could include forcing health centers to hire a whole second staff of doctors, nurses and administrative staff. None of these requirements contribute to the health of patients.
Title X is the nation’s family planning program and ensures that every person has access to health care like birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment and well-woman exams. No Title X funding can be used toward abortion services.
Statement from Tanya Atkinson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin:
“Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) has been a proud recipient of the Title X grant for more than 40 years and plays an indispensable role ensuring more than 31,000 patients receive preventive reproductive health care through this program each year.
“The new gag rule puts health care providers like Planned Parenthood in an impossible position: withhold information from patients or get pushed out a program designed to ensure people get the care they need. PPWI is committed to ethical patient care and would not be able to provide care under the program.
“The gag rule will leave people without essential health care. PPWI health centers serve 87 percent of Title X patients in the state. Planned Parenthood is the only Title X family planning provider in seven Wisconsin counties (Columbia, Dane, Milwaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha). When PPWI’s funding was previously threatened, other community health centers were clear that they could not absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. That means people who can’t afford health care will be left with nowhere to turn.
“Blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood would have a disproportionate impact on those who already face discriminatory barriers to health care including people of color, people who live in rural areas or people with low incomes. This is unacceptable.
“PPWI believes that all patients, regardless of income, deserve access to the best medical care and information possible. We are committed to exploring every option to fight for our patients to ensure their continued access to the essential health care they need.”
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is a nonprofit health care provider serving 60,000 patients annually at 21 health centers. Planned Parenthood provides the full range of comprehensive reproductive health care including well woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, birth control and abortion care.