Breaking: Congress Introduces “Title X Protection” to Safeguard Affordable Health Care for 4 Million People Against Trump’s Illegal and Unethical Gag Rule
For Immediate Release: April 29, 2019
Chairs Nita Lowey and Rosa DeLauro Introduce
House Labor-HHS appropriations bill that halts Title X gag rule and protects access to birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations subcommittee included language (pg. 48-49) in the government’s annual budget bill to protect Title X, the nation’s dedicated program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, from the Trump-Pence administration’s illegal and unethical domestic gag rule. The “Title X Protection” makes clear that Congress is in charge of the Title X program and will not fund the Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule. Instead, Congress will only allow this funding to be used to carry out the program as it has been historically run for decades.
Title X helps 4 million people struggling to make ends meet –– the majority of whom are people of color, Hispanic, or Latino –– access birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other essential reproductive health care. Since the Trump-Pence administration released the gag rule, there has been mass outcry from patients, medical providers, lawmakers, and public health advocates –– including AIDS United, the American Medical Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and the American Public Health Association. Now, Congress is taking action to protect health care for people across the country –– in fact, this bill also increases funding for the program by more than $100 million from last year.
BACKGROUND ON TITLE X AND TRUMP’S GAG RULE
Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“The Title X gag rule is unethical, it’s dangerous, and it’s illegal. Planned Parenthood applauds our health care champions in Congress who are taking action to stop the gag rule and protect health care for the 4 million people who depend on Title X health centers. The ‘Title X Protection’ will help ensure that women and families who don’t have health insurance, who live in rural areas, and who are struggling to make ends meet can still access birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, and other essential care. It will ensure that doctors, nurses, and clinicians can continue to uphold our oath to provide the best care possible to our patients. Together, we must send a clear message to the Trump-Pence administration: health care must be a fundamental right for all –– not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it.
“Protecting the Title X program is just the beginning. America needs an increased investment in the health of our communities and affordable, accessible health care for everyone. We look forward to working alongside Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and other advocates for health care as they drive forward an agenda that protects our patients’ civil and human rights.”
Statement from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee:
“Democrats are standing up for women’s healthcare by pushing back on the Trump-Pence administration’s dangerous attacks on family planning services, including abortion and contraception,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “Women know what is best for them and their families much better than this administration. That is why we are fighting to protect Title X and the millions of patients who get care through this program in this year’s Labor-HHS funding bill.”
The gag rule makes it illegal for health care providers in Title X to refer patients for abortion, and also blocks access to care at Planned Parenthood by imposing cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements. Nearly 50 percent of the Title X network has made it clear that the rule would force them out of program –– the administration is putting health care at risk for patients across the country.
Congress has been clear for decades: Title X patients cannot be kept in the dark about their options, including abortion, if they receive information about their pregnancies. It’s written into the rules of the Title X program. Further, in 2010, Congress prohibited rules, like the gag rule, that create unreasonable barriers to care. Congress also made clear that it’s illegal to mandate rules that violate the ethical standards of health care professionals, as the gag rule does. The Trump-Pence administration ignored this law and pushed the gag rule forward anyway –– that’s illegal.
In March, Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association filed suit challenging the gag rule for being illegal, unethical, and threatening the health care of millions of people who rely on Title X health centers. And just last week, three judges announced they will block the Trump-Pence administration’s domestic gag rule from taking effect on May 3, providing temporary relief for patients and providers while cases challenging the legality of the rule continue to be litigated. However, health care remains at risk for the 4 million people who rely on Title X health centers. Planned Parenthood is going to continue to fight the Trump-Pence administration in court and alongside Congress to ensure our patients’ health and rights are protected.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.