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More than 140,000 comments to the Biden-Harris administration underline need to quickly restore access to affordable sexual and reproductive health care

WASHINGTON, DC — Last night, the 30-day public comment period closed for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed regulations to end the Title X gag rule. Since 2019, former President Trump’s gag rule has undermined the Title X program and denied people across the country access to affordable reproductive health care, such as birth control and life-saving cancer screenings.

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

“This comment period has made it plain: People across this country are demanding access to time-sensitive, essential sexual and reproductive health care. Care that is rightfully ours. In less than two years, the previous administration’s gag rule has forced providers out of the program and decimated patients’ access to affordable birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, and more. Due to centuries of systemic racism and injustice, the rule has disproportionately harmed people of color and people with low incomes, all at a time when access to affordable preventive health care has never been more critical. We’re so proud to stand with our partners and thousands of advocates across the country to tell the Biden-Harris administration in one voice: end the Title X gag rule now.”

The proposed regulations, when finalized, will end the Title X gag rule and make other modifications to strengthen the program and better ensure access to equitable, affordable, client-centered, quality health care services for patients. Over the course of the 30-day comment period, more than 140,000 comments were submitted by sexual and reproductive health care supporters about the harm of the gag rule. Planned Parenthood Federation of America submitted comments underlining the harm of the gag rule for patients and the need to swiftly create a path to reentry for community health care providers that were forced out of Title X. 

Excerpt from Planned Parenthood Federation of America comments:  

“...since the 2019 Rule was implemented, approximately 1,000 service sites have left the Title X program. That includes more than 400 Planned Parenthood health centers. These departures have reduced the network’s capacity to provide family planning and related preventive health care services by an estimated 46%. Six states (Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington) now have no Title X service site….As the Department properly recognizes and as Planned Parenthood can confirm from decades of experience in the program, so ‘many individuals depend on the Title X program as their primary source of healthcare’ that ‘this situation creates a widespread public health concern.’” 

Access to sexual and reproductive health care is inextricably tied to health and safety during the pandemic. As the nation’s only federal program dedicated to providing affordable birth control and other reproductive health care to people with low incomes, Title X is a critical piece of our social safety net that can, and should, help ensure equitable access to essential health care. Title X grants fund services like birth control, contraceptive counseling, STI treatment, breast and cervical cancer screenings, pre-pregnancy care, and more. 

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all 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, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.