Warning of “severe” consequences for reproductive healthcare, critics condemn the Title X gag rule as “blatantly coercive and a violation of medical ethics and patients’ rights.”
After President Donald Trump’s administration announced Monday that it would immediately begin enforcing a ban on abortion referrals at clinics that receive federal tax dollars, outraged reproductive rights advocates warned about the impact on healthcare nationwide and vowed to keep fighting against what they call the domestic gag rule.
“The Title X gag rule is part of a much broader agenda by the Trump administration and its allies to undermine people’s reproductive health and rights, and to impose a socially conservative worldview within the U.S. healthcare system.”
Trump’s Health and Human Services Department notifiedclinics of the move ahead of a conference in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The announcement followed a 7-4 vote Thursday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding an earlier ruling which lifted injunctions that prevented enforcement of the policy.
The administration’s rule makes healthcare clinics ineligible for Title X Family Planning Program funding if they provide abortion referrals and requires them to keep finances separate from facilities that provide abortions. Though clinic staff can still discuss the procedure with patients, they are not required to do so.
The rule also stipulates that healthcare centers receiving Title X funds cannot be located in the same space as abortion providers, though that provision isn’t set to take effect until next year. The decades-old Hyde Amendment, passed annually by Congress, already blocks federal funding for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to a pregnant person’s life.
This prohibits #TitleX clinics from referring people to abortion providers IF the patient wants. Providers are not allowed to even counsel patients with medical info. They must also now be in separate facilities from abortion providers. (Funding abortion is already prohibited.) https://t.co/5ICJ3437ay
— Dr. Rebecca Kreitzer (@rebeccakreitzer) July 16, 2019
Services funded by the Title X program, which gives clinics about $260 million in grants annually, mostly serve patients with low incomes and those who face systemic barriers to care, including people of color and uninsured individuals. According to Planned Parenthood, a primary target of the new rule, “more than four million people rely on affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare services that are funded by Title X.”
The organization operates clinics across the country, which would be effectively defunded by the gag rule—a longtime goal of the anti-choice movement and Republican politicians. Planned Parenthood Action responded to the administration’s enforcement announcement on Twitter late Monday, denouncing the rule as “devastating, illegal, and unethical.”
Promising to continue the ongoing legal challenge to the ban, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Dr. Leana Wen said in a statement that “our doors are still open” and “we will not stop fighting for all those across the country in need of essential care.”
BREAKING: Last night the Trump administration notified Title X providers that it will begin enforcing its unethical gag rule IMMEDIATELY—endangering the healthcare of millions and effectively “defunding” Planned Parenthood nationwide. https://t.co/BlNnGT8OrO #ProtectX
— NARAL (@NARAL) July 16, 2019
In a series of tweets Tuesday, the Guttmacher Institute, condemned the rule as “blatantly coercive and a violation of medical ethics and patients’ rights,” and cautioned that “the consequences could be severe.”
“The Title X gag rule is part of a much broader agenda by the Trump administration and its allies to undermine people’s reproductive health and rights, and to impose a socially conservative worldview within the U.S. healthcare system,” tweeted the research and policy group, which works to advance reproductive health and rights globally.
Clare Coleman, president of the umbrella group National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, also tied the move to the Trump administration’s and Republican lawmakers‘ other recent attacks on healthcare and reproductive rights. As she told The Associated Press, “The administration’s actions show its intent is to further an ideological agenda.”
Last night, @HHSGov notified Title X grantees that it will begin formally enforcing the final #TitleX rule. This is devastating for our members and for the 4 million people served by the program every year. The @AP reports more. https://t.co/VsCHiWie7p
— NFPRHA (@NFPRHA) July 16, 2019
“Make no mistake, this is not about helping women—it’s about preventing women from exercising their constitutional right to choose,” Rep. Barabara Lee (D-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday. “Politicians have no place dictating patient care.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was also among those who expressed alarm over the administration’s policy. In a Monday night tweet, the 2020 presidential candidate wrote that she stands with Planned Parenthood Action in the fight to overturn the gag rule and highlighted how she would safeguard reproductive rights on a national scale if elected to the White House in 2020.
This rule silences doctors and puts women’s lives at risk. I stand with @PPact in their fight to overturn these punitive regulations. A Warren administration will protect the right to choose. Here’s how: https://t.co/iBzvjDBCL4 https://t.co/gO5sCjZ7kE
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 15, 2019
John Oliver tells Susan Collins she can tell Trump doesn’t learn anything because he kept having kids after Donald Trump Jr.
HBO host John Oliver returned Sunday evening after a cascade of unending news. On his season premiere of "Last Week Tonight," Oliver began with the announcement that on the break, the U.S. nearly went to war with North Korea, if you're sick, you probably have the coronavirus, and you'll be dead within an hour, and a "bitch" won the latest Westminster Dog Show.
When it came to President Donald Trump's acquittal, Oliver
But when it came to the president's impeachment, Oliver nailed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who announced on CBS Evening News that the whole experience changed him.
Trump is already making up conspiracy theories about voter fraud — and it’ll only get worse
The election is eight months away, but President Donald Trump is already crying foul.
Bloomberg News wrote Sunday that Trump is already working to undermine the American electoral process by attacking the Democratic presidential primary.
"Indeed, his campaign, with the full support of the Republican Party, is already waging a vigorous crusade to destroy his opposition. No, it's not Joe Biden, who inspired Trump's shakedown of Ukraine. Trump's gunning for bigger game: democracy itself," wrote Francis Wilkinson for Bloomberg.
READ IT: More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials tell Bill Barr to resign now
More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and political crony Roger J. Stone Jr.
“It is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case,” wrote the former Justice Department attorneys in their Sunday letter. “It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.”