Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund Statement on Congressional Budget Deal
For Immediate Release: Dec. 17, 2019 (Updated: Dec. 17, 2019, 4:15 p.m.)
Last night, Congress and the White House announced they have reached an agreement on federal spending package, which does not contain language from the House spending package overturning the Trump-Pence administration’s medically unnecessary gag rule forcing qualified providers like Planned Parenthood out of the Title X, the nation’s only dedicated program for affordable birth control.
“While Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Jared Golden advocated for and voted to protect Title X, it’s disappointing that the Republican-led senate refused to include the same protections for the millions of Americans including more than 22,000 Mainers who count on Title X for critical health care,” said Nicole Clegg, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund. “People turn to Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers every day for essential and often lifesaving care. They choose them because they are trusted. No one wants politicians inserting themselves in private medical decisions but that’s what’s happening with the Trump gag rule. The Senate could have said no to biased counseling and political attacks against Planned Parenthood but instead they sided with Trump and negotiated away health care for millions of people, a majority of whom are women.”
Title X is the nation’s only dedicated program for affordable birth control and reproductive and sexual health care. The gag rule makes it illegal for any provider in the Title X program to tell patients how or where to access abortion, and imposes cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” restrictions on health centers that provide abortion –– moves designed to force Planned Parenthood health centers and other reproductive health care providers out of the Title X program.
In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending package including strong language blocking the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule from being implemented with support from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Jared Golden.
The majority of patients in the Title X program are women and identify as people of color, Hispanic, or Latino. It’s impossible to separate this risk to their health care from the other actions by this administration that harm people of color with low incomes — such as its calls for a border wall, rampant voter suppression, and attempts to “defund” Planned Parenthood.
Under the gag rule, Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country and health centers like Maine Family Planning have been forced out of the Title X program --- leaving Maine without a single Title X provider.
Since the implementation of the gag rule, Title X funds have been diverted to providers that do not offer contraception.
Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Maine. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest sexual and reproductive healthcare provider in northern New England. In 2018, PPNNE health centers in Maine served more than 12,000 patients and provided more than $4 million in free and discounted health care.