Title X is the only federal program dedicated to birth control — and the Trump administration just cut off half of its providers.
The Trump administration's gag rule on doctors forced Planned Parenthood out of the federal Title X program along with eight states, the organization announced on Monday.
"Today, we are announcing that due to an unethical and dangerous gag rule, the Trump administration has forced Planned Parenthood grantees out of Title X — the nation's program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care," Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said on a Monday press call.
Title X is the only federal program dedicated to providing family planning services, like birth control and sexual health screenings, to low-income Americans.
Current law already prohibited Title X funds from covering abortion, but the Trump administration's new rule goes even further: Now the government will withhold federal Title X funding from organizations where doctors either perform abortions or even just refer patients who want an abortion to a facility which provides them.
"This reality will hit hardest people struggling to make ends meet — including those people in rural areas and communities of color," McGill Johnson said.
"Our patients deserve to make their own health care decisions, not to be forced to have Donald Trump or Mike Pence make those decisions for them. At Planned Parenthood, we refuse to cower to the Trump-Pence administration. We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients."
Planned Parenthood serves 1.6 million of the 3.8 million contraceptive clients covered by Title X–funded providers, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Without Planned Parenthood Title X providers, other health centers will have to increase their caseload by an average of 70%, according to a 2017 Guttmacher study.
"The domestic gag rule isn't just an attack on Planned Parenthood — it's an attack on the millions of Americans who rely on their services for birth control, cancer screenings, and other health care needs," Seema Nanda, CEO of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement.
"It's an attack on women's health care at a time when the Trump administration and other Republicans threaten basic protections for preexisting conditions and enact extreme abortion bans in states across the country."
Planned Parenthood, the American Medical Association, and a group of 20 states sued the Trump administration to keep the new rule from going into effect. While lower courts sided with Planned Parenthood, a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judgment allowed the rule to go into effect nationwide. The Trump administration gave Planned Parenthood until Aug. 19 to comply with the new rule or be forced out of the program.
"I want our patients to know: while the Trump administration may have given up on you, we never will," McGill Johnson said. "We are continuing to fight this rule in court, and will do everything we can to make sure our patients don't lose care."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.