The Biden administration has announced that it will rewrite the rules for the Title X federal family planning program put in place by Donald Trump, which forced Planned Parenthood and other independent clinics who provide abortion and reproductive health care to withdraw from the program in 2019.
Trump’s changes to the program, which provides reproductive health services to millions of low-income patients, disproportionately people of color, forced providers out after revoking eligibility for those who counsel on or provide abortion care. These changes left some states without a Title X provider.
“Planned Parenthood applauds the Biden-Harris administration for announcing its intent to end the Title X gag rule and take an important step toward restoring access to essential sexual and reproductive health care. This swift action from the administration is much needed. In under two years, the gag rule has decimated access to affordable reproductive health care, like birth control, STI testing, and cancer screenings,” said Jacqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations and public policy for Planned Parenthood.
“It has severely decreased the program’s health care provider network, put more financial restraints on patients, and actively harmed people of color and people with low incomes across the country — all during a pandemic. We stand ready to work with the administration to swiftly end this discriminatory policy and to create a pathway to program reentry for health care providers who were forced out by the gag rule, so they can once again meet patients’ needs,” she said.
The announcement comes shortly after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the rules brought forth by the American Medical Association, Planned Parenthood, and others. The Biden administration says the new rules will be “substantively similar” to how the program was run prior to the Trump administration’s rule change.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has pledged to publish the new rules no later than April 15, with a final rule in place by the fall, which will give clinics that were forced out of the program time to reapply.