Wednesday, August 19 marked the one year anniversary of the Trump administration forcing Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) out of the Title X program through its unethical domestic gag rule. Prior to being forced from the program, we served more than 40 percent of Title X contraceptive clients across the state. One year later, six counties in Central Illinois — LaSalle, Macon, McLane, Peoria, Sangamon, and Tazewell — have no Title X provider at all.
Title X is a national program that was enacted in 1970, and provides funding to offset the cost of birth control and reproductive health care for underserved communities. Currently, more than 100,000 people in Illinois rely on Title X to access basic health care like cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, birth control, and STI testing and treatment.
Trump’s gag rule makes it illegal for any provider in the Title X program to tell patients how or where to access abortion and imposes cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” restrictions on health centers that provide abortion.
Those most adversely affected by the Trump administration’s gag rule are low-income and rural people, people of color, and undocumented folks who already face systemic barriers to accessing health care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed and worsened existing health disparities statewide, hitting Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities particularly hard. These disparities are being made worse by the accompanying economic crisis, which has put additional strains on the social safety net. Record numbers of Illinoisans are out of work and an estimated 5.4 million people lost health insurance coverage nationwide between February and May.
It is unconscionable that the Trump administration continues to enforce this gag rule and deny patients access to time-sensitive and essential sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, in the midst of a historic global pandemic.
We remain deeply committed to providing uninterrupted access to essential health care services, information, and education for all of our patients regardless of race, gender, income level, or immigration status. Without Title X funding, however, we are providing more care with less funding, which is not sustainable over the long-term.
If you are concerned about making sure all Title X patients in Illinois have access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health care, click here to learn how you can get involved. And be sure you’re registered to vote this November!