Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Patty Murray, (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) held a press call with patients and women’s health leaders to highlight the Trump Administration’s harmful and unethical rule jeopardizing the Title X family planning program, which would place a “domestic gag” on health care providers at centers that receive Title X funds and would impose new restrictions that will make health care less accessible for millions of people across the country.
In their remarks, the Senators challenged Republicans to stand up for women’s rights and access to basic health care including contraception and cancer screenings. They were joined in issuing that challenge by Clare Coleman, President & CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and a patient who received care at Planned Parenthood.
Earlier today Senator Murray also released a new oversight memo from her office highlighting some of the negative impacts of the rule and comments patients, providers, city and county officials, and religious organizations submitted in opposition.
“Let’s be clear: people in this country overwhelmingly agree that women should be able to get birth control—that no matter how much money you make or where you live, you should be able to get a cancer screening that could save your life—and yes, that women should be able to exercise their constitutional right to safe, legal abortion,” said Senator Murray. “So today we’re challenging Republicans to listen to the women and men this rule hurts and the people working to help them get the care they need. And then, join Democrats in standing up against this dangerous, unethical step backward.”
“The Title X program is a lifeline for millions of Americans. Title X patients deserve choice when it comes to their provider, they deserve all of the information when it comes to their care, and importantly, they deserve access to critical reproductive health services,” said Senator Wyden. “Trump’s gag rule is immoral—plain and simple.”
“Hawaii’s community health centers serve thousands of people from low income, and at risk communities – precisely the population that benefits most from family planning services under Title X,” said Senator Hirono. “Under the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule, these critical health care providers face a stark choice of either violating their oath to provide honest health care information or forgoing federal Title X funding entirely. I will continue to fight alongside providers and advocates to resist and overturn this gag rule.”
“Trusting women and their families to make decisions about their reproductive health care is key to women’s economic opportunity,” said Senator Smith. “Deciding whether, or when, to start a family has a big impact on the other important choices that a woman makes, like whether to take a job or to go back to school. Title X has made a huge difference for people across this country, and the Trump Administration is attempting to interject their own ideological views into the evidence-based care Title X provides. We need to make sure important medical decisions are decided between an individual and their experienced health care professional, not this administration.”
“We are in disbelief that the nation’s family planning program may come to allow the rhythm method and ‘abstinence unless married’ education to become an acceptable service mix in the federal Title X program,” said Clare Coleman, President & CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. “And we are in shock that individuals and organizations that offer limited information and services that do not meet national standards and are not health care may be funded under the administration’s new rule.”
“During a time when I wasn’t sure if I would be able to even have children in the future, or exactly how to manage this new disease, the last thing I wanted to think about was the cost and how to navigate the system. Title X was critical to me finding care,” said Emma B., a Planned Parenthood patient from Washington state.
Senator Murray’s oversight memo about the opposition to the Title X rule can be found HERE.