The Title X Gag Rule
dismantled Title X, stopped health care providers from telling patients about abortion or forced them out of the program, and blocked patients from care at Planned Parenthood
Help us keep up the fight to ensure all patients can get the health care they need — no matter what.
Why It Matters
In 2019 the Trump-Pence administration implemented a gag rule that dismantled Title X.
Title X is the federal program that gives grants to health care providers so that people who are uninsured or underinsured can access free and low-cost birth control, contraception education, STD tests, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive reproductive care.
The gag rule prohibited Title X grants from going to programs where clinicians 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 severely restricted grants for health centers that separately provide abortion — like Planned Parenthood.
The gag rule kept 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 blocked 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
The Impact: From when the gag rule went into effect nationwide (except in Maryland) in 2019 to the end of Trump’s term in 2020, the national Title X network of providers was cut in half.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules against Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association — voting to uphold the Trump-Pence administration’s dangerous gag rule on Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which let the gag rule take effect, hears oral arguments from a lawsuit filed by 21 states, the District of Columbia, and several health care providers (including Planned Parenthood)
Trump Administration gag rule forces Planned Parenthood health centers out of Title X
House of Representatives passes major pro-reproductive health spending bill that would block the Title X gag rule if it gets passed by the Senate and signed by Trump
Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association sue the Trump administration to block the Title X gag rule
Gag rule issued to censor providers, block patients from Planned Parenthood
Administration announces planned “gag rule” for Title X providers and patient
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
“At Planned Parenthood, we refuse to cower to the Trump-Pence administration. We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients.”
The Devastating Effects of Dismantling the Nation’s Only Program for Affordable Birth Control
The Trump administration's gag rule was an unprecedented restriction on reproductive health care access and gravely restricted reproductive rights.
Putting Information & Health Care Out of Reach
- Prohibiting doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country from referring patients for abortion ended the guarantee that patients get information or counseling on all of their pregnancy options.
- The gag rule put 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, some patients likely lost access to free and low-cost basic care.
- The gag rule threatens to leave thousands of people without anywhere else to go for health care services.
Part of an Anti-Planned Parenthood Agenda
The gag rule was part of the Trump-Pence administration’s larger agenda to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers. While the gag rule affected every provider in the Title X program, the rule’s restrictions were specifically designed to block patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the gag rule jeopardized birth control access for 1.6 million patients overall. In 17 states, the reproductive health care providers that left the Title X network had previously served at least half of birth control patients using the program.
In total, over 1,000 Title X sub-recipients and sites (about 25%) left the Title X network after the gag rule went into effect.
Because of the gag rule, six states (Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington) completely withdrew from the Title X program. In another eight states (Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and New Hampshire), the majority of Title X providers left the program.
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, sued the administration over the gag rule.NPR
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.Ms Magazine
Before the Title X gag rule, the United States federal government had never implemented a gag rule. It is a radical departure from the way health care has operated in the country.Business Insider
Because of the gag rule, many people in the Title X program were left with nowhere to turn for health care. In some communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of affordable reproductive health care. Without Planned Parenthood, many patients don't have access to free or low-cost birth control, STD 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
Washington state is one of at least 13 states that sued the Trump-Pence administration over the Title X gag rule for its harm to patients — particularly how the rule keeps vital health care services away from women with low incomes.NBC
With the Title X gag rule, Donald Trump and Mike Pence cut funding for Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide.Planned Parenthood Blog
If you're wondering why Planned Parenthood is so important, check out all the health care services and education on its flagship website, PlannedParenthood.org.Go to PlannedParenthood.org
This unethical Trump administration policy stopped health care providers from talking with their patients about how to access abortion, keeping 4 million people who rely on Title X from being able to get full and accurate information. The gag rule forced Planned Parenthood health centers — which had served 40% of Title X patients — and many other providers out of the program, undermining access to these services as a result.Planned Parenthood Action Blog
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 Trump called the "global gag rule" led to clinic closures, 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 people 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 pregnant person is in danger).Planned Parenthood Action
Learn how you can access high-quality, affordable reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers — and how to fight for everyone who could lose access.Planned Parenthood Tumblr
In 2019, supporters of affordable birth control and access to care at Planned Parenthood took over 270 actions proclaiming that they #StandWithPP and want to #ProtectX. In cities across the country, activists crowded Congressional offices, hosted letter-writing parties and held rallies. Advocates said these collective actions strengthened the unity of the movement despite the challenges it faces.Planned Parenthood Action Blog