Gag Rule Will Dismantle Title X –– the nation’s decades-old bipartisan program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care
WASHINGTON, DC — On Monday, the Trump administration used its immoral, unethical, and dangerous gag rule to force Planned Parenthood health centers out of Title X –– putting health care at risk for 1.5 million people. The Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America stands against this attempt to strip poor people of their health care, and stands with the millions of people across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for their reproductive healthcare.
Planned Parenthood health centers have been a part of Title X since it was created nearly 50 years ago, and the organization has been the largest provider, serving 40 percent of all patients who get care through the program. Title X is meant to ensure that patients who are poor or struggling to make ends meet can still access birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. This gag rule puts that care out of reach by asking doctors and nurses to withhold information about abortion from their patients in order to stay in the program –– a complete violation of ethics.
“As faith leaders, we regularly counsel congregation members who are struggling to make ends meet, to keep themselves and their families healthy, and to make the right decisions for themselves and their families when it comes to every facet of their reproductive health. The gag rule takes away their health care and their options,” said Rev. Marci Auld Glass, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board Chair and a Presbyterian minister in Boise, Idaho.
“This immoral gag rule is bad for women, families, and public health. The Title X program was designed to make reproductive health care services accessible for those who are already struggling, and who already find it hard to get the medical attention they need. Now, millions of people –– especially women of color and those with low incomes –– are being denied this fundamental right,” said Rev. Vincent Lachina, a Baptist minister who serves on Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Clergy Advocacy Boards, and as the Regional Chaplain to Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, based in Seattle, Washington.
Made up of leaders from diverse faith traditions, members of the Clergy Advocacy Board recognize that their religious traditions call them to stand with the vulnerable. The Clergy Advocacy Board stands against efforts by politicians to deny millions of people the right to exercise their own moral beliefs in making the best health care decisions for themselves and their families. The Clergy Advocacy Board condemns this gag rule and affirms the goodness of supporting access to comprehensive reproductive health care for every person –– including access to accurate and complete medical information.
Background on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board:
Building on the long history of faith leaders taking an active role in supporting reproductive health care, the Clergy Advocacy Board has been working with Planned Parenthood at the national and state levels to further the goal of full reproductive rights and freedom for all people for more than two decades. Its members, who are dedicated clergy and faith leaders from different denominations and communities throughout the U.S., lead a national effort to increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health.
Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers and advocates 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.