On June 1, 2018, the Trump administration proposed drastic changes to Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. This proposed rule is #MoreThanAGagRule and threatens to take away quality, affordable reproductive health care and information from millions of people.
1. It would ban Title X providers from providing abortions on site, referring patients elsewhere for abortion care (even if that’s what the patient wants) or offering information about abortion. This would exacerbate the financial and emotional hardships people with low incomes already face in obtaining timely abortion care.
2. It would allow Title X providers to give biased and misleading counseling and to withhold information about all reproductive health care options, including FDA-approved contraceptive methods (such as birth control pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs)). This would deny patients the right to make informed decisions about their health.
3. It would impose burdensome and unnecessary requirements on already financially stressed family planning clinics, potentially causing them to close and leave low-income patients without access to needed care. People seeking family planning services could lose access to timely, affordable, and life-saving services like cancer screening, birth control, wellness exams, and more.
4. It would allow Title X clinics to offer only a single method, such as fertility awareness-based methods, or a limited number of family methods that are ideologically acceptable to the clinic. Currently, clinics have to offer or refer for all FDA-approved methods. Where a person lives could determine her or his ability to access the high-quality contraceptive method that works best for her or him.
5. It would require Title X providers to encourage minors to involve parents in making a decision to seek and obtain family planning services. This breach in confidentiality could destroy the trust between patients and providers and discourage young people from seeking the reproductive health care they need, such as contraceptive care and STI screenings and treatment.
6. It would prohibit Title X grantees from using funds to encourage, promote, or advocate for abortion, such as through sex education classes at local high schools. Restricting Title X grantees from distributing information that includes abortion as a method of family planning would promote a skewed understanding of safe reproductive practices and education.
7. It would fundamentally change the nation’s family planning program by opening the Title X funding opportunity to fake women’s health centers and other harmful organizations that use dangerous and deceptive practices that block people from receiving time-sensitive information about their full range of reproductive care options.
8. It would disproportionately affect people of color who already face significant obstacles to accessing reproductive health care due to racism and other systemic barriers that have contributed to income inequality and health disparities.
9. It would severely disrupt the family planning safety net that people with Medicaid and uninsured individuals rely on for high-quality reproductive health care. Without access to Title X family planning services, people who would have been eligible for Title X are more likely to go without needed reproductive health care during coverage gaps.
10. What did we do? The NWHN took action! We made our voice heard by submitting comments on the proposed rule. You can continue to urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor and support resolution H.Res.915 in the House and S.Res.526 in the Senate. These resolutions make clear that the proposed Title X restrictions would erode the patient-provider relationship and prevent patients from receiving care.