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Latest move could embolden states to try and block care through Medicaid

Washington, DC — Today, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the historic Women’s March, the Trump administration rescinded guidance from the Obama administration regarding the long-standing federal freedom of choice provision, which had explained that state efforts to block patients’ access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers violate federal law. It’s clear their motive is to encourage states to block access to birth control and other preventive care at Planned Parenthood, even if there are no other providers in their community, or if providers don’t offer specialized care like IUDs or the birth control shot.

Not only is blocking care at Planned Parenthood dangerous, it’s unpopular -- which is why it failed in Congress six times. Poll after poll shows that the American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood and strongly oppose these attacks on their health care.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President for Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

On the anniversary of the historic Women’s March, the Trump-Pence administration makes their agenda crystal clear: They are laser-focused on using their power to control women’s bodies and lives. Their latest action encourages states to try to block access to care at Planned Parenthood and control where women can go for health care. Without Planned Parenthood, many of our patients would lose access to health care altogether — either because there are no other providers in their community or because other clinics cannot serve all of our patients.

“They couldn’t get the votes to pass it in Congress, so now they are pushing states to try and block care at Planned Parenthood. The law is clear: It is illegal to bar women from seeking care at Planned Parenthood. Longstanding protections within Medicaid safeguard every person’s right to access care at their qualified provider of choice.  

“The Trump-Pence administration has taken action after action to infringe on our freedoms and take away rights, including allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to employees; cutting teen pregnancy prevention programs; taking away protections for sexual assault survivors and transgender people; implementing and expanding the global gag rule, which puts vulnerable women around the world at risk; and setting up a new office designed to ensure that individuals can be denied access to basic health care and information based on their providers’ personal beliefs.

Cutting off care at Planned Parenthood would mean taking away rights and opportunities from people who already face unequal and unfair treatment. Groups facing discrimination, including LGBTQ people, people of color, people with disabilities, and women, are more likely to have low incomes and more likely to rely on programs like Medicaid.

The idea that other providers could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly dismissed by experts. In fact, the executive director of the American Public Health Association called the idea “ludicrous.” Planned Parenthood health centers care for 2.4 million people nationwide each year, and more than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas. Two years after Texas barred care at Planned Parenthood, nearly 30,000 fewer women received birth control, cancer screenings, and other care through the state’s family planning program as a result.


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 and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy