Court lets Trump-Pence administration enforce gag rule in Title X program, endangering birth control, cancer screenings, and more for millions of people
WASHINGTON — An en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit refused to block the Trump-Pence administration from enforcing the dangerous Title X gag rule. Title X is the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, which serves 4 million people each year. Trump’s gag rule makes it illegal for health care providers in the Title X program to refer patients for abortion, and also blocks access to care through the program at Planned Parenthood by imposing cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements. Planned Parenthood will continue its efforts to restore the nationwide preliminary injunction and fight to protect health care for millions across the country.
Providers that serve nearly half of the patients who get care through Title X have made it clear that the rule would force them out of program –– the administration is putting health care at risk for millions of patients across the country. Title X helps millions of people struggling to make ends meet –– the majority of whom are people of color, Hispanic, or Latino –– access birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other essential reproductive health care.
Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
This is devastating news for the millions of people who rely on Title X for cancer screenings, HIV tests, affordable birth control and other critical primary and preventive care. While we are incredibly concerned the panel did not recognize the harm of the Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule, we will not stop fighting for the millions across the country in need for care. Planned Parenthood will keep fighting to block this dangerous rule that allows the government to censor our doctors and nurses from doing their jobs.
Four district court judges had previously blocked the rule, with two judges blocking it nationwide. On June 20, 2019, the 9th Circuit granted the request from the Trump-Pence administration to stay the preliminary injunctions in California, Oregon, and Washington, which allowed the gag rule to be enforced. The 9th Circuit agreed to re-hear the administration’s request for a stay on July 3, 2019. Today’s order makes clear that while the court is rehearing the request for the stay, the stay remains in place, jeopardizing the care of millions of people who access birth control and other reproductive health services through Title X.
In June, the House of Representatives passed a spending package including strong language blocking the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule from being implemented. Now, the Senate must push for a spending bill that includes protective language to make sure millions of people can continue to access health care through Title X.
More background and information on the gag rule and the litigation can be found here.
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.
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.