The Trump administration is implementing a policy that prevents clinics that provide abortion counseling and referrals from receiving Title X Family Planning Program funding, funding that provides birth control, STD tests, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and reproductive health care to low-income and uninsured individuals. Under Title X, federal dollars already cannot directly fund abortion but this rule will make it harder for patients to seek the care and counseling they need.
According to Planned Parenthood President, Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood serves 41% of Title X patients but Planned Parenthood is estimated to lose $60 million in federal funding. “This rule will block doctors across the country from referring Title X patients for safe, legal abortion,” Wen said.
Opponents have slammed this policy as a “gag rule,” saying it prevents physicians from giving their patients complete and accurate medical guidance. In order to continue receiving Title X funding, health care providers must demonstrate clear physical and financial separation between abortion services and other reproductive health services. In some cases, patients must enter through different doors depending on which services they seek. This is supposed to ensure that Title X-funded services remain separate from abortion procedures. In reality, it perpetrates stigma surrounding people who seek abortions and creates another obstacle between patients and healthcare.
Four million low-income patients will be affected by the Trump administration’s new rule and over half these patients are people of color. The policy goes into effect in 60 days after publication of the proposed rule change and is schedule for the next week.
Media Resources: NPR 2/22/19; AJMC 2/22/19; HHS 2/22/19; PBS 2/25/19; Washington State ATG 2/25/19; Rewire 5/30/18