Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Leana Wen calls out hypocrisy of administration
New York, NY – National Women’s Health Week is May 12 – 18, 2019, recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women’s Health with the goal of encouraging “all women to be as healthy as possible.”
However, during this Women’s Health Week, the policies of the Trump-Pence administration continue to make it harder for women across the country to access health care, including affordable birth control and high-quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.
Statement by Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
It’s unconscionable to see this administration recognize National Women’s Health Week when they’re doing everything they can to make it harder for women across America to get the care they need.
“The Trump-Pence administration is trying to gag doctors like me, take away essential health services from women and families through their attempts to dismantle Title X, and make being a woman once again a pre-existing condition through continuous attacks on the Affordable Care Act. Now emboldened by this administration, anti-women’s health politicians across our country are pursuing extreme and dangerous policies, including locking up doctors and prevent women from seeking standard health care.
National Women’s Health Week should be a time to celebrate, protect, and expand women’s access to health care. Instead, across the country, political attacks on reproductive health care are skyrocketing. We’re seeing restrictions and outright bans on abortion; laws attempting to roll back access to birth control and cancer screenings; the Trump-Pence administration’s attempt to dismantle Title X, the nation’s dedicated program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, with an illegal and unethical gag rule; and attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid program.
Attack on Title X:
Since day one, the Trump-Pence administration has aggressively targeted the civil and human rights of people of color, people with low incomes, and women. Earlier this year, it released a final gag rule. The rule, if it goes into effect, would make it illegal for health care providers to tell their patients how or where they can access abortion, and includes restrictions aimed to block Title X patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers — even though Planned Parenthood serves approximately 40 percent of Title X patients.
Title X is the nation’s only federal program dedicated to affordable birth control and reproductive health care that four million people rely on each year. The program is meant to ensure that people who are struggling to make ends meet can still access health care like birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and annual exams. Nearly 50 percent of the Title X network has made it clear that the rule would force them out of program –– the administration is putting health care at risk for patients across the country.
The gag rule is so unethical that it has been opposed by major medical associations, like theAmerican 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.
HHS Refusal Rule:
Earlier this month, the Trump-Pence administration released a final rule that would allow health care workers to put their beliefs ahead of people’s health by refusing to provide care or information to patients. If it takes effect, this dangerous rule puts patients’ health at risk, especially for women and LGBTQ people.
In allowing doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to deny care to patients, the Trump-Pence administration is providing legal cover for discrimination. This will widen health care disparities and worsen health outcomes for those who already face too many barriers to care.
People should be able to trust that they will be able to access the best medical care possible, instead of having to worry about whether or not they will get the right care or information because of their providers’ beliefs. The impact of this policy will be most harmful to women of color, who are more likely to live in areas with hospitals that claim an objection to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion and certain forms of birth control.
It could also harm transgender women. We know that discrimination in health care also already prevents LGBTQ people from accessing care, and nearly one-third of transgender people surveyed said a doctor or health care provider refused to treat them due to their gender identity. The refusal rule is yet another part of the administration’s systematic attacks on health care and rights of people of color, LGBTQ people, and women.
Lies About Abortion:
President Trump is repeating lies about abortion — despite being called out again and again and again. His false claims about abortion later in pregnancy are designed to manipulate the public and embolden state politicians who are pushing a dangerous agenda in state after state.
These lies are providing the cover for state politicians to pass abortion bans that harm women. Last week, Georgia became the fourth state this year, after Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio, to enact a ban on abortion before many people even know they are pregnant.
“Instead of limiting access to women’s health care, policymakers should support policies that allow women and their families to thrive,” said Dr. Wen. “Protecting and expanding access to sexual and reproductive health care leads to stable families and a stronger society. This week and every week, we need our elected officials to work for more access to health care – not less.”
Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. For more than 100 years, providing quality health care and education has been at the center of Planned Parenthood’s mission. That’s why at least one in five women has relied on a Planned Parenthood health center for care in her lifetime.
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.