Administration ignored four million patients whose care is at risk, and more than 500,000 comments from Americans opposing the rule
Las Vegas, NV — Despite mass outcry from the medical community and American people, the Trump-Pence administration today released a gag rule that undermines Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, and makes it illegal for health care providers in the program to refer patients for an abortion. This puts health care at risk for four million patients and keeps women from having information about all of their health care options.
The administration has put health care providers like Planned Parenthood in an impossible position: withhold information from its patients or get pushed out of a program designed to ensure that people struggling to make ends meet can still access birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, and other essential reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood serves 41 percent (1.6 million) of the four million people nationally.
The rule also imposes cost prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements on health centers that also provide abortion in an effort to stop Planned Parenthood from participating in Title X.These requirements could include forcing health centers to build separate entrances and exits, construct whole new health centers, or hire a whole second staff of doctors, nurses, and administrative staff. None of these requirements contribute to the health of patients.
The Title X program served nearly 11, 000 people in Nevada in 2017 alone. The vast majority of these patients are lower-income, underinsured, and have limited access to affordable birth control and cancer screenings in their communities and this rule leaves their health, rights, and lives hanging in the balance.
The majority of patients in the Title X program identify as people of color, Hispanic, or Latino, and it’s impossible to separate this attack on their health care from the other attacks this administration has leveled on families with low incomes and people of color — such as the “public charge” rule, voter suppression, and other attempts to “defund” Planned Parenthood.
For people of color, the right to bodily autonomy and quality health care has been consistently under attack throughout this country’s history — leading to huge disparities in health outcomes between women of color and white women. Dismantling Title X will limit health care options even further and worsen the massive divide that already exists in health care.
Statement from Lindsey Harmon, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada:
“We cannot and must not let this stand. Everyone deserves access to the best medical care and information possible, regardless of income. This rule is disastrous and could devastate access to care for people across the country who rely on Title X funding for affordable, quality care. 9 in 10 Title X patients are women and in Nevada nearly 60 percent of Title X patients are uninsured. Taking away medical providers’ ability to give quality care that includes information about the full scope of reproductive care available to them is a deliberate and unconscionable attack on populations who are already disenfranchised by a broken health care system. Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada will continue to defend everyone’s ability to get affordable, quality health care.”
About the Title X Gag Rule:
This rule is opposed by the general public, the medical community, lawmakers, and public health experts. When the rule was announced, nearly 500,000 Americans submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services voicing their opposition.
Major medical associations like the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, and others stand against this rule. In addition, more than 200 members of Congress and 100 public health organizations have come out in opposition to a gag policy.
There is no replacement for Planned Parenthood, as researchers, medical experts and other providers agree. This rule will jeopardize access to free or low-cost basic needs — like birth control, and STI or cancer screenings — for many underserved communities, including rural communities and many communities of color.
Many of the lists of “replacement” providers brandished by proponents of policies to block care at Planned Parenthood don’t even provide reproductive health care. In Louisiana, the state list of alternative providers included dentists and nursing homes. In Florida, it included school nurses. In Ohio, it included food banks.