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Trump administration’s unethical gag rule keeps providers out of the program by mandating they withhold information from their patients

Planned Parenthood continues to call on Congress to reverse Title X gag rule

WASHINGTON — Today, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit voted 7-4 to uphold the Trump administration’s unethical and dangerous gag rule on Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood sued the Trump administration in March to block the rule, which makes it illegal for any provider in the Title X program to tell patients how or where to access abortion, and imposes cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” restrictions on health centers that provide abortion. These moves were obvious and ultimately successful tactics to push Planned Parenthood health centers and other reproductive health care providers out of Title X.

In “strongly” dissenting, Judge Paez, joined by three other judges, wrote“In vacating the preliminary injunctions, the majority blesses an executive agency’s disregard of the clear limits placed on it by Congress. The consequences will be borne by the millions of women who turn to Title X-funded clinics for lifesaving care and the very contraceptive services that have caused unintended pregnancy--and abortion--to plummet.”  

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Your access to health care should not depend on how much you earn, where you live, or who you are. The Trump administration’s dangerous gag rule is causing immense harm across the country.  This unethical rule has put up egregious barriers for people with low incomes to get birth control and preventive care like STI testing, education, and cancer screenings. With the court failing to block the rule, Congress must take action to reverse this dangerous rule and restore access to care for millions through Title X. Planned Parenthood will never give up on our patients and we will continue to do everything we can to fight this rule.”

Before being forced out by the Trump administration, Planned Parenthood health centers had been a part of the Title X family planning program since its creation and served 40 percent of all Title X patients each year. In total, the Trump administration’s gag rule has forced out Planned Parenthood health centers and direct grantees in 15 states, and today, there are six states with no Title X-funded services (HI, OR, ME, UT, VT, WA). This leaves more than half of patients who rely on Title X funding without the provider they had been turning to for Title X care. The majority of patients in the Title X program identify as people of color, Hispanic, or Latino.

Because people of color have faced countless barriers in accessing health care, in many states, Title X health centers are one of the few places these communities, especially those with low incomes or in rural areas, can access affordable reproductive health care services. In many communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of affordable reproductive health care, or the only provider that offers specialized care like on-site IUD services or the birth control shot. Due to the gag rule, people who can’t find or can’t afford another reproductive health care provider may be left with nowhere to turn, or go without birth control altogether. Even in areas where other providers are present, the providers often lack the capacity to serve additional patients.

The medical community, public health experts, and the general public are against this rule. In addition to the American Medical Association, the gag rule has been opposed by major medical associations, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, as well as 110 public health organizations, and public health experts such as former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, and many others. A group of 19 different medical organizations, mayors, state lawmakers, over 200 Members of Congress, newly elected Democratic governors, and several other governors have opposed this legislation as well.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.