Title X Gag Rule
dismantles Title X, stops health care providers from telling patients about abortion, and blocks patients from care at Planned Parenthood
Why It Matters
The Trump-Pence administration has issued a gag rule that would severely restrict Title X — which is the federal program that gives grants to health care providers for free and low-cost birth control, contraception education, STD tests, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive reproductive care.
The gag rule says Title X grants can’t go to clinicians who tell their patients how they can safely and legally access abortion (even if patients ask and even if a pregnancy threatens their health). The gag rule also takes grants away from health centers that separately provide abortion — like Planned Parenthood.
If enacted, the gag rule would keep the 4 million people with low incomes who rely on Title X from being able to get full and accurate information from their clinicians. The gag rule also would block them from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
Principal Advisor at the Office of Civil Rights, Former Deputy General Counsel (HHS)Appointed to HHS: March 2017
Former Special Assistant to the President, White House Domestic Policy CouncilResigned: 6-1-2019
Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary of Health (HHS)Appointed to HHS: Early 2017
What to Expect Next
If the gag rule goes into effect, it'll upend Title X care for 4 million people
Gag rule issued to censor providers, block patients from Planned Parenthood
Administration announces planned “gag rule” for Title X providers and patients
Title X grants go to abstinence, rhythm-method programs instead of birth control
White House memo suggests cutting Title X funding in half
Mike Pence casts deciding vote to end Title X protections in states nationwide
“The gag rule is unconscionable and unethical. This rule compromises the oath that I took to serve patients and help them with making the best decision for their own health.”
Dismantling the Nation’s Only Program for Affordable Birth Would Have Devastating Effects
The Trump administration's Title X gag rule is an unprecedented restriction on reproductive health care access and would gravely restrict reproductive rights. Prohibiting doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country from referring patients for abortion ends the guarantee that patients get information or counseling on all of their pregnancy options.
The gag rule is part of the Trump-Pence administration’s larger agenda to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers. While the gag rule affects every provider in the Title X program, the rule’s restrictions are specifically designed to block patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers. Planned Parenthood serves 41% of the 4 million patients who get preventive, reproductive health care through Title X. That’s more than 1.6 million patients who won’t be able to see their provider of choice, which may cause them to delay or simply go without care.
The gag rule puts affordable health care out of reach for many underserved communities, including people of color, people in rural communities, and people already struggling to make ends meet. Without the Title X program, many patients would lose access to free and low-cost basic care. The gag rule could leave thousands of people without anywhere else to go for health care services.
Background on The Gag Rule
The gag rule flies in the face of mass outcry from doctors, medical associations, public health experts, lawmakers, and the general public. Several medical and reproductive rights groups, as well as at least 23 states, are suing the administration over the gag rule.NPR
Nearly three-fourths of Americans say they oppose a gag rule. When the administration announced that it would impose it anyway, the American people protested in the streets and online — sending more than 500,000 public comments to the Department of Health and Human Services.Chicago Tribune
Because of systemic inequities, 13% of people who rely on Title X have limited English proficiency. Language barriers, along with racial and ethnic bias, already hinder health care access — limiting Title X make them worse.Vox
Before moving forward with the gag rule, the administration staffed its ranks with officials who are fiercely dedicated to restricting access to birth control and care at Planned Parenthood health centers. That includes Diane Foley, an anti-abortion and anti-birth control activist who Trump appointed to oversee Title X.Tracking Trump: Diane Foley
In addition to "gagging" health care providers, the gag rule imposes cost-prohibitive and medically unnecessary building requirements on Planned Parenthood and other health centers that also provide abortion. These "physical separation" requirements between abortion care and preventive care 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.Self Magazine
A similar measure implemented by President Trump, called the "global gag rule," has led to clinic closures as well as increases in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, women dying from pregnancy-related complications, and infant and child deaths in other countries.TIME Magazine
Like all federal funding, Title X grants cannot go toward abortion care. A rule called the Hyde amendment already requires women who rely on Medicaid and other government-sponsored health care coverage to pay for safe, legal abortion out-of-pocket (except in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the woman is in danger).Planned Parenthood Action
The gag rule is so dangerous that over 110 public health and major medical organizations officially oppose it.Planned Parenthood
Because of historic barriers to health care, the majority of patients who get care through Title X identify as people of color, Hispanic, or Latino. The gag rule stands to worsen the already massive divide in health outcomes between women of color and white women. Imposing a gag rule also is one of many attempts by the Trump-Pence administration to take away health care and rights from families with low incomes and people of color.I Stand With Planned Parenthood
A gag rule has never been implemented within the United States before. It is a radical departure from the way health care has operated in the country until now.Business Insider
Many people in the Title X program would be left with nowhere to turn for health care if the gag rule takes effect. In some communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of affordable reproductive health care. Without it, many patients won’t have access to free or low-cost birth control, STI screenings and treatment, and other basic care.PBS
After similar policies blocked patients from care at Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas, tens of thousands fewer women received care.Texas Observer
The state attorney general in Washington is one of several people suing the Trump-Pence administration over the gag rule for its harm to patients — particularly how the rule would keep vital health care services away from women with low incomes. The Washington attorney general has also asked a federal court to block the gag rule from taking effect while the lawsuit is pending.Post-Intelligencer