The Latest Attack on Women’s Health Care and the Right To Choose

President Trump recently announced a plan to impose new restrictions on federally funded family planning programs which will limit women’s access to reproductive health care. This is the latest salvo in the Republicans’ decades old battle to end funding for Planned Parenthood and other clinics providing crucial health care services to low income women around the country. The new rules are phrased as an anti-abortion proposal but they do nothing to limit abortions – rather the rules undermine key not-for-profit healthcare providers in their mission to provide contraceptives and other reproductive services to poor women.

Congress created Title X in 1971 fulfillingRichard Nixon’s promise that“no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” Title X does not and never has paid for abortions. Federal law prohibits any government dollars from paying for the termination of pregnancies. 

Planned Parenthood (and other health clinics) use Title X grants to pay for birth control, STD screenings and other reproductive health services for low-income patients, especially those lacking health insurance coverage. These services are particularly important in the 18 states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. A similar effort to eliminate state-level funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas has resulted in a sharp decrease in access to and use of contraceptives along with a rise in unintended pregnancies.

Trump’s proposed rule requires that clinics or programs receiving funding under Title X must be “physically and financially separate from programs in which abortion is provided or presented as a method of family planning.” This means that any clinic that offers abortion or even discusses abortion as an option is barred from receiving Title X funds. Health professionals in Title X programs would only be allowed to make referrals to abortion providers after female patients state that they have already decided to terminate their pregnancies.  Counseling on this topic is forbidden.

Republicans intend this to be a direct attack on Planned Parenthood, but the result is an attack on low-income women – their right to choose their health care provider and their ability make informed decisions about their own reproductive care. Planned Parenthood is one of the largest providers of contraceptives in the country and is the sole or primary provider of contraceptives to almost a third of all women who require public support for birth control under Title X. For many women there isn’t any backup option if Planned Parenthood is cut out of funding under the Title X program. The practical effect of this rule is to eliminate an entire range of reproductive services for a large group of America’s most vulnerable women.

Call To Action

Contact Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (see below) and your Senators and Representativesto express your opposition to these new Title X rules.

  • The proposed rules threaten all family planning services for low income women by targeting organizations who provide essential access to contraception and other reproductive services.
  • The rule will result in the rise in unwanted pregnancies and STDs. This is unconscionable.
  • This is a politically motivated attack on the organizations who provide abortions to a wide range of women, especially low income women. It is part of a concerted assault on women’s constitutional right to choose to terminate a pregnancy.
HHS Office of the Secretary
Phone: 202-690-7000