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Title X Gag Rule

dismantles Title X, stops health care providers from telling patients about abortion, and blocks patients from care at Planned Parenthood

ACT NOW: Support Planned Parenthood patients and stop the Title X gag rule!

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.

Related Players

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Alex Azar

Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Nominated by Trump: 11-13-2017
Diane Foley

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (HHS)

Appointed: 5-29-2018
Matthew Bowman

Principal Advisor at the Office of Civil Rights, Former Deputy General Counsel (HHS)

Appointed to HHS: March 2017
Katy Talento

Former Special Assistant to the President, White House Domestic Policy Council

Resigned: 6-1-2019
Steven Valentine

Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary of Health (HHS)

Appointed to HHS: Early 2017
Valerie Huber

Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of Global Affairs; Former Senior Policy Advisor for the Assistant Secretary for Health (HHS)

Appointed: 6-6-2017

Timeline

  • What to Expect Next

    If the gag rule goes into effect, it'll upend Title X care for 4 million people

  • 2-22-2019

    Gag rule issued to censor providers, block patients from Planned Parenthood

  • 5-22-2018

    Administration announces planned “gag rule” for Title X providers and patients

  • 2-23-2018

    Title X grants go to abstinence, rhythm-method programs instead of birth control

  • 10-19-2017

    White House memo suggests cutting Title X funding in half

  • 3-30-2017

    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

Mass Public Outcry

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
73% of Americans Oppose The Gag Rule

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
Worsening Language Barriers

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
Appointing Anti-Birth Control Leaders

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
Costly Construction Requirements

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
Global Gag Rule Causing Clinic Closures Abroad

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
Hyde Amendment Separates Title X from Abortion Care

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
Doctors Oppose The Gag Rule

The gag rule is so dangerous that over 110 public health and major medical organizations officially oppose it.

Planned Parenthood
Worsening Health Disparities for People of Color

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
Unprecedented Restriction on Health Care

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
Leaving Patients with Nowhere to Turn

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
Fewer Women Getting Care

After similar policies blocked patients from care at Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas, tens of thousands fewer women received care.

Texas Observer
Pending Litigation

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

Related Policies

Title X Gag Rule

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