Trump Gag Rule Would Leave Millions Without Health Care

New rule is an attack on women’s rights and access to reproductive health services

(BOSTON, MA) -- Statement from Lois Uttley, director of the Women’s Health Program at Community Catalyst, in response to the Trump administration’s introduction today of a rule that would significantly undermine, and in many cases end, low-income patients’ access to affordable birth control and family planning services at federally-funded Title X health centers.

“Community Catalyst strongly opposes the Trump’s administration’s proposed gag rule, which would have a devastating impact on Title X family planning providers and their millions of low-income patients. The loss of Title X funding for clinics that provide abortions or referrals would leave millions of patients without the care they need – birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and other women’s health services.

“Family planning providers, including Planned Parenthood, are already prohibited from using Title X federal funds to provide abortions. They must use other funds, such as direct payments by patients, to fund abortion care, and keep those funds separate from federal dollars. This proposed rule goes well beyond those current restrictions. It would bar family planning providers that receive Title X funding from providing abortion care in the same physical space, or providing referrals elsewhere for abortion care.

“Currently, Title X clinics are able to provide abortions as long as no federal funds are used and abortion care payments are kept separate from federal dollars. Title X clinic staff are currently allowed to provide referrals for abortions, if a pregnant patient requests one after receiving non-directional ‘all options’ counseling about all potential treatment options. The proposed Trump rule, by contrast, would bar family planning clinics from using Title X funds to ‘perform, promote, refer for or support abortion.’

“Another troubling aspect of the proposed rule released tonight is that it would permit the use of Title X funding by organizations that do not actually provide contraceptive services, but rather promote the use of so-called fertility awareness methods that have high failure rates. Moreover, these organizations would be allowed to omit any mention of abortion in their counseling of pregnant women.

 “The Trump rule is an unconscionable intrusion into the practice of medicine and the health rights of women perpetrated by a group of ideological extremists. It would interfere with the ability of medical professionals to provide pregnant patients with referrals to providers of safe, legal abortion services. At the same time, the new rule will allow the use of Title X funding by organizations that do not actually provide contraception and refuse to tell pregnant women about all their treatment options, including abortion.

“The Trump rule is clearly an attempt to achieve administratively what the Trump and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly failed to do through legislation – end federal funding for any clinics that provide or refer for abortions. It is a direct attack on Planned Parenthood, which serves 41 percent of patients whose care is paid for with Title X funds. Community Catalyst and our allies across the country will raise voices in opposition to this extreme, harmful effort to curb patients’ access to the care they need.”

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About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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