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Planned Parenthood Condemns Trump-Pence Administration Attempt to Restrict Access to Title X Reproductive Health Care

INDIANAPOLIS –  Thousands of Hoosiers’ access to health care is on the line as the Trump-Pence administration attacks the nation’s only family planning program. The domestic gag rule would change Title X funding to prevent medical providers from sharing information with their patients about the full range of options during pregnancy.

Nationally, Planned Parenthood serves 41 percent (1.6 million) of the 4 million people who rely on Title X health centers; this rule leaves their health, rights, and lives hanging in the balance.

“Because of our commitment to ethical patient care, it threatens Planned Parenthood’s ability to continue participating in the program under this gag rule,” said Lynne Bunch, Vice President of Patient Services for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. “Planned Parenthood won’t withhold medical information from our patients, especially critical information people need for, life-saving care. This will be bad news for anyone who can’t afford the rising costs of health care because the gag rule will dismantle the nation’s only family planning program meant to ensure that people with low incomes can still access birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, and other essential reproductive health care.”

The Indiana Family Health Council administers Title X funds in Indiana and provided services to 23,887 patients in 2017 alone. Planned Parenthood health centers treat more than 30 percent of Title X patients in Indiana, and in many Indiana communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of affordable reproductive health care or the only provider that offers specialized care like an IUD or the birth control shot.

Even when there are other providers available in a community, they often don’t have the capacity to serve additional patients. ​

“If all Indiana Title X funds were redirected only to federally qualified health center sites that serve at least 10 contraceptive clients a year in Indiana, those sites would have to increase their contraceptive client caseloads by 62 percent to maintain the current reach of Title X.” (U.S. Senate memo)

Community health centers themselves say there is no way they could fill the gap.This could put ​affordable health care out of reach for many underserved communities, including communities of color and rural communities.  

Once implemented, the Trump-Pence domestic gag rule would:

  1. Make it illegal for doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country that participate in the Title X program to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.
  2. Impose new restrictions designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.
  3. Remove the guarantee that people are getting full and accurate information about their health care from their providers. Title X law has been clear: Health care providers receiving funds cannot withhold information from patients about their pregnancy options. The Trump-Pence gag rule will reverse that.
  4. The rule also imposes cost prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements on health centers that also provide abortion in an effort to stop Planned Parenthood from participating in Title X.These requirements could include forcing health centers to build separate entrances and exits, construct whole new health centers, or hire a whole second staff of doctors, nurses, and administrative staff. None of these requirements contribute to the health of patients.

The rule has been met with widespread opposition by the American people, the medical community, lawmakers, and public health experts. Polling from Hart Research Associates showed overwhelming opposition to the Trump-Pence administration’s efforts to take away women’s basic rights and health care. Major medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and others, oppose this rule. More than 200 members of Congress (see the Senate letter and House letter) and more than 110 public health organizationshave come out in opposition to the gag policy.

“Preventing these patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers would mean many are left with nowhere else to turn,” said Bunch. “Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky will always be here for our patients and will continue to fight for everyone’s ability to get affordable, quality health care – no matter what.”