‘Shameful’ Gag Rule Will Deny Millions Essential Care and Information, Women’s Health Expert Warns

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The proposed rule the Trump administration issued today is truly appalling. By denying women essential care and information, it would imperil the health of millions. This shameful gag rule undermines free speech and medical ethics — and it would force doctors and other health care providers to withhold critical information from their patients, denying women the ability to make their own informed health decisions. It is designed to block Planned Parenthood and other abortion care providers from serving millions of women who urgently need the primary and preventive care the Title X family planning program provides.

This is political intrusion in health care of the worst kind. If it takes effect, this rule would put more than two in five Title X patients at risk of losing access to the care they need. All patients served by Title X would lose access to essential health information and the ability to talk with their providers about their health care options. That, in turn, would raise the number of unplanned pregnancies, pregnancy complications and undiagnosed medical conditions.

This is yet another attack from the Trump administration targeting low-income communities of color. More than half the patients served through Title X are people of color. Twenty-one percent of patients receiving care through Title X are African American, and 32 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino. This rule would withhold care and information from people already subject to systemic barriers to health care, and deepen the disparities that already plague our health care system.

This proposed rule constitutes an attack on women’s autonomy, dignity and economic security as well as women’s health. Information about and access to reproductive and preventive health services is essential not only to our health and well-being but also to our ability to pursue an education, get and keep jobs, support our families, and function as free and equal members of society. Without full information about our options and access to the full range of reproductive health services, all of that is in jeopardy. The administration should be working to improve women’s health, not undermine it.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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