Contact: Carrie Mumah, [email protected], 212-274-7294
Rule Would Make it Illegal for Health Care Providers to Refer for Abortion and Imposes New Restrictions Meant to Block Patients From Coming to Planned Parenthood
Nationwide “Gag Rule” Has Never Been Implemented in the United States Before
NEW YORK -- Last night, the Trump-Pence administration released a nationwide gag rule on health care providers in an attempt to block people from accessing abortion, marking a radical departure from how health care has operated in the United States up until this point.
The proposed rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services tonight but not yet posted to the Federal Register, would do three main things:
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 doctors. For nearly two decades, Title X law has been clear: Health care providers cannot withhold information from you about your pregnancy options. This rule means they can.
Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City:
“This is one of the worst attacks we’ve seen by extreme politicians attempting to practice medicine without a license. A president who doesn’t know the difference between HPV and HIV should not be making reproductive health decisions for millions of Americans. In New York City, more than 150,000 individuals rely on the federal family planning program for birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive care and would be impacted by this draconian rule.
Simply put, the Trump-Pence Administration is attempting to take away access to sexual and reproductive health care from millions of people, period. Under the proposed rule, patients who go to a provider that receives federal dollars through Title X will not get the complete and medically accurate health care they need.
Everyone has the right to access full and truthful information about their health care — including, information about safe, legal abortion, and deserve the best medical care and information, regardless of who you are, where you live, or how much money you make.
PPNYC will stop never providing comprehensive, medically accurate health care for all of our patients.”
The domestic gag rule wouldn’t just affect Planned Parenthood. The rule “gags” any Title X provider from referring for abortion. It would affect every health care provider in the program, from community health centers to hospitals.
In New York State, 34% of Title X service sites are Planned Parenthood health centers, and those sites serve 52% of Title X patients. In 2015, 91 percent of people served under Title X throughout New York State were women, and 60 percent had incomes at or below the federal poverty line. Twenty-two NYC health care providers receive Title X funding, including Planned Parenthood of New York City, 10 NYC Health + Hospital sites, and other community-based providers.
More than half of the people who rely on the Title X program nationwide are people of color: 21 percent of all Title X clients identify as Black or African American, and 32 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.
The rule is expected to include a 60-day comment period after the yet to be determined date it is posted to the official federal register.
The domestic gag rule has never gone into effect in the United States before. The Reagan administration did try to implement this in 1988, but the rule was held up in the courts and later retracted by the Clinton administration in 1993 after intense outcry from the medical community, including the American College of Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Reinstating this rule would prevent millions of people from getting birth control and preventive care. At the same time, it would also force doctors and nurses to withhold information from patients across the country.
Although Planned Parenthood health centers make up only about 13 percent of the Title X health centers, they serve 41 percent of the patients who get care through Title X. Preventing those patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers would mean many are left with nowhere else to turn.
Since 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) has been an advocate for and provider of sexual and reproductive health services and education for New Yorkers. Providing more than 100,000 patient visits annually, PPNYC’s health care centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island offer sexual and reproductive health services, including gynecological care, birth control, cancer screening, pregnancy testing, abortion, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV prevention, testing and counseling, transgender hormone therapy and vasectomy. Through a threefold mission of clinical services, education, and advocacy, PPNYC brings better health and more fulfilling lives to each new generation of New Yorkers. As a voice for reproductive freedom, PPNYC supports legislation and policies to ensure that all New Yorkers will have access to the full range of reproductive health care services and information.