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Des Moines, IA—August 19, 2019—The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has allowed the Trump administration to implement the Title X gag rule, which prohibits health care providers from referring patients for abortion services. Planned Parenthood providers cannot comply with this unethical rule and so affiliates across the country, including here in Iowa, are exiting the federal Title X program and so will no longer be receiving this crucial federal funding. Title X funds are used to provide low-income women with preventive care, like birth control and cancer screenings; these funds are never used for abortion care.

By enforcing this dangerous rule, President Trump will block millions of Americans from the affordable health care they seek at Planned Parenthood health centers. This includes 14,000 Iowans who rely on Title X funding for care at Planned Parenthood and associated clinics in all corners of the state. The gag rule will especially impact women in rural areas, where there are fewer providers and less access to basic care.

This Gag Rule is medically unethical because it stops providers from giving patients full information about their options. Planned Parenthood will never withhold information from our patients in exchange for funding. Despite this dangerous move by the Trump administration, Planned Parenthood will continue seeing patients and our doors are open. 

It’s baffling that by forcing Planned Parenthood out of this crucial public health program, our President and Vice President are making it very likely that we’ll see a rise in unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. We will do everything in our power to fight this rule because it is a direct attack on the women and men of Iowa that rely on us.

Erin Davison-Rippey, State Executive Director

Title X Background

Title X (ten), passed by Congress in 1970, is the only federal grant program dedicated to funding comprehensive family planning services for Americans with low incomes. Title X funds serve people who can’t afford basic family planning services like birth control and clinical breast exams. For many people, these health centers are their only source of health care. In Iowa, 14,000 patients received care because of Title X in 2018.

Title X provides a range of essential preventive health services including contraception, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. Since the beginning of Title X, health centers that provide abortions, like Planned Parenthood, were able to get funding but were prohibited from using those funds to subsidize or pay for abortions. No Title X funds have every been used for abortion services.

The Trump administration’s ‘gag rule’ bans doctors in the Title X program across the country from telling patients how they can safely and legally access abortion. The gag rule prohibits doctors from giving women full information about all of their sexual and reproductive health care options. 

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, newly elected Democratic governors, and several other governors have opposed this legislation as well.

In Iowa, Planned Parenthood will no longer be able to use Title X funds to care for patients at our health centers in Ames, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City, and Urbandale. Following the loss of Title X funding, a sliding fee scale will be offered to patients based on income and Planned Parenthood will continue to help patients enroll in health coverage they may be eligible for.