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WASHINGTON — Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Physicians for Reproductive Health, and reproductive health champions in Congress, held a press conference on the importance of protecting birth control access and blocking the Trump administration’s harmful Title X gag rule in the year-end spending bills. Title X is the bipartisan, popular, and effective federal program that has provided affordable birth control and essential reproductive health care for nearly 50 years to people with low incomes. But earlier this year, the Trump administration’s gag rule forced Planned Parenthood and other health providers out of the program, threatening access to health care for millions of people. 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. 

Joining the patients and providers at the press conference were U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA). 

Statement from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (D-WA):

“Women and men across the country have been clear—they believe it is unacceptable for anyone to lose access to providers they trust, affordable care they need, or medical information about their health, just because a politician thought their ideological views were more important. Senate Republican leaders have done nothing while President Trump guts the historically bipartisan Title X program and threatens to cut off access to health care for millions of women and families. But Democrats are not letting up, and we’re not letting them off the hook.”

Statement from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee (D-CT):

“We must stand arm-in-arm to defend women’s healthcare and to defeat the domestic gag rule. The Trump-Pence administration’s cruel, and, in my view, illegal, domestic gag rule has forced Planned Parenthood out of Title X—our country’s only initiative dedicated to affordable contraception and family planning. The domestic gag rule is a dangerous political ploy. As the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Title X program, rest assured that we are going to fight to block this rule that threatens the health of millions of people.”

Statement from Jacqueline Ayers, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“The Trump administration’s unethical Title X gag rule makes birth control and reproductive health care more difficult to access for people who already face barriers to care. This is not what the American people want, and now it’s up to Congress to take action. We thank the dedicated reproductive health champions in Congress who have stood with patients, providers, and families in this fight. We will continue to work together to reverse this dangerous gag rule and protect birth control for all Americans.” 

Dr. Serina Floyd, OB-GYN in Washington, D.C. and Fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health:

“We are here today to make sure Congress understands just how much is at stake. The Trump administration’s gag rule is an attack on one of the most important relationships in some people’s lives: the relationship between a patient and their health care provider. These rule changes are an attack on patient’s ability to have full control over their own medical decisions. People are losing access to birth control, information about how to access abortion care is being withheld from them, and this rule will make it almost impossible to access a STI test or cancer screening for many people. These rule changes impact those who already face the greatest challenges to accessing crucial health care: people with low incomes, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQIA community.”

Congress has the power to reverse the gag rule and people across the country want them to use it. In June, the House of Representatives passed a spending package including strong language blocking the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule from being implemented. Now, the Senate and the full Congress must do the same and restore access to birth control, STI testing, and other critical services to people with low-incomes. 

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 care. 

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, 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.

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