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REMARKS BY ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON, ACTING PRESIDENT AND CEO OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA

 

Thank you, Erica. Thank you to Governor Pritzker, Lilliana, Jessica, and Anne-Marie for joining us on this call today.  

Today, we are announcing that due to an unethical and dangerous gag rule, the Trump administration has forced Planned Parenthood grantees out of Title X—the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. 

Our affiliate grantees will be submitting letters saying as much to HHS today. 

Planned Parenthood is still open. Our doors are open today, and our doors will be open tomorrow. 

We are continuing to fight this rule in court, and will do everything we can to make sure our patients don’t lose care. 

I want our patients to know: while the Trump administration may have given up on you, we never will. 

But let’s be clear: the impact of the Trump administration's gag rule will reverberate across the country. 

The Title X program is designed to help bring access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and more to those who otherwise can’t afford it. 

For too many people struggling to make ends meet—including those people in rural areas and  communities of color—this gag rule may mean they delay or go without care. 

We believe that the Trump administration is doing this as an attack on reproductive health care and to keep providers like Planned Parenthood from serving our patients. 

And it’s not just Planned Parenthood that will be forced out of Title X by this gag rule.

Already seven states—one of which are on this call today—and a number of other providers have all made clear that they also will not comply with this unethical rule. 

Our patients come to us because they expect the best information and health care available. And we have a commitment to provide that to them. 

But the gag rule would make it impossible for us to uphold that commitment. 

At Planned Parenthood, we refuse to cower to the Trump-Pence administration. 

We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients. 

Our patients deserve to make their own health care decisions, not to be forced to have Donald Trump or Mike Pence make those decisions for them. 

For nearly half a century, Title X has ensured that those struggling to make ends meet or who don’t have health insurance can access services like birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment in their communities. 

Planned Parenthood health centers have been a part of the program since its inception nearly 50 years ago. We are its largest provider, serving approximately 40 percent of its patients. 

The Trump administration would have you believe that this gag rule will make no difference in people’s lives—but we know it will. 

The Trump administration would have you believe that places like Obria—a network of anti-abortion counseling centers which received a $1.7 million Title X grant this year—can provide the same level of care as Planned Parenthood health centers. 

But do you know what Obria does not provide? Contraception. 

This means patients who go to Obria seeking birth control will not be able to access methods like the pill, an IUD, and emergency contraception. 

In places like Utah, where Planned Parenthood is the only Title X grantee—or Minnesota, where Planned Parenthood serves 90 percent of the Title X patients—it will simply be impossible for other health centers to fill the gap. 

Wait times for appointments will skyrocket, and people will delay or go without care.

We already see women having to drive impossible distances to access abortion. 

This gag rule could mean that we now will see women driving hundreds of miles just to find a provider who can help them access birth control such as an IUD.

That is why we need Congress to act—and to do so now. 

The House has already passed a spending bill that would block the gag rule. 

Now, the Senate must push for a spending bill that does the same. 

Our supporters are already making their voices heard—telling their members of Congress to stand with Planned Parenthood and protect Title X. 

Our country already suffers from a massive divide between those who can and who cannot access the health care they need.

This is the time for all who believe that a person’s zip code and income should not determine one’s access to health care to raise their voices.

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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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