In February, the Trump-Pence Administration released it's final Gag Rule, continuing their attack on women and families with low income and people of color.
Despite mass outcry from the medical community and the American people, the Trump-Pence administration released a final Gag Rule that would prohibit providers like Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC), who receive Title X family planning funding, from discussing or referring patients for abortion services… let alone providing abortion care — even though these funds are never used for abortion services in accordance with the law. Simply put, the new rule would “gag” health care providers from telling patients all of their medical and legal options. This is both morally and medically unethical. And because PPNC would never withhold critical information from our patients, we would have to stop accepting Title X funds. Losing these funds would threaten access to care for more than 13,000 patients in Nassau County alone who rely on Title X — predominantly low-income people of color.
In March, we fought back.
In March, our national office, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, along with the American Medical Association, filed suit challenging the Gag Rule for being illegal, unethical, and threatening the health care of millions of people who rely on Title X health centers.
The case, which was filed in the United States District Court in Eugene, Oregon, was brought by the American Medical Association, Oregon Medical Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, Thomas N. Ewing, M.D and Michele P. Megregian, C.N.M. Planned Parenthood is being represented by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the law firms of WilmerHale and Stoel Rives. It seeks to protect the Title X program and guarantee that people receive full, unbiased information about their health care options — a right that has been repeatedly affirmed by Congress.
On April 24th, a federal court blocked Trump's Gag Rule, protecting access to care.
Judge McShane, a federal district court judge in Oregon, announced that he will issue a preliminary injunction to block the Trump-Pence administration’s Gag Rule as it would place untenable restrictions on the nation’s only program dedicated to affordable reproductive health care for people with low incomes.
The Gag Rule would have barred providers from giving their patients complete medical information and block care at Planned Parenthood, even though Planned Parenthood serves approximately 40 percent of Title X patients. Equally alarming, the rule would have resulted in dangerously undermining access to life-saving cancer screenings, STI treatments, and birth control for people who access health care under the Title X program — affecting millions nationwide and 12,000 people right here in Nassau County.
Then, on April 26th, a second federal judge also blocked the rule.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian of Washington state ruled against the Trump-Pence Administration's changes, saying they would require clinics “to face a Hobson’s choice that harms patients as well as the providers.”
Both of these judges' rulings halted the Gag Rule from going into effect.
Then, on June 20th, the “Gag” Rule went into effect.
In a cruel decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Trump-Pence Administration's unconscionable “Gag Rule” took effect.
On July 3rd, we thought we had a victory, when a federal court announced they would re-hear the case. Unfortunately, an order from the court on July 11th clarified that while the court is re-hearing the case, the “Gag” Rule remains in place.
Even though the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule was originally blocked by federal courts, a ruling by a panel of a U.S. Court of Appeals just allowed the gag rule to go into effect everywhere but the state of Maryland. This is a targeted blow to the 4 million patients who obtain birth control, cancer screenings and other essential care through Title X.
But this fight isn’t over. Less than 24 hours before this devastating decision, the House voted in favor of protective language for the Title X program without the gag rule. In a few weeks, the Senate can choose to do the same.