Governor Stands with Doctors, Patients to Protest Title X Gag Rule

Posted on July 25, 2018

CONTACT: Sari Stevens
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Governor Stands with Doctors, Patients to Protest Title X Gag Rule
Proposed federal rule would deny women basic health and reproductive care

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (July 25, 2018) – Gov. Tom Wolf today stood with providers, community members and Planned Parenthood patientsto denounce the Trump administration’s proposed Title X domestic gag rule, which puts women at risk by denying them access to basic health care and reproductive services.

Title X regulations until now have been clear: Health care providers cannot withhold information from patients about pregnancy options. The proposed gag rule, however, would make it illegal for doctors, nurses, hospitals, community health centers, and any other provider in the Title X family planning program to tell patients how they can safely and legally access abortion. In addition to silencing providers, the rule would also make it impossible for patients to access care from Planned Parenthood’s health centers.

Planned Parenthood patients joined Gov. Wolf at the event at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to speak publicly about their concerns.

“As a cancer survivor, I can tell you that early detection of disease is critical to survival,” said Jeanette Herrington, of Springfield, and the mother of two girls. “As a result of the proposed rule, it is indisputable that more cancers will go undetected, more abnormal Pap smears will not be treated, and life-saving care will be inaccessible for the low-income women and men who need it most.”

Sydney Rosen, of West Philadelphia, had a persistent bacterial infection and turned to Planned Parenthood for gynecological care after losing health insurance when her mother lost her job. “If it wasn’t for the Title X program, I would not have been able to receive the care and treatment that I needed,” Rosen said. “No one should ever have to worry about access to care because of lack of insurance or not being able to pay for services out of pocket. This domestic gag rule is a dangerous policy that must be stopped — going without care should never be an option regardless of who you are!”

Johanna Mudry, of South Philadelphia, has relied on Planned Parenthood’s sliding scale fee, which is based on income and family size, to access STI screenings and breast cancer screenings since she was a teenager, as well as birth control at different stages of her life. “Sliding scale services have given me control over my reproductive health to make informed decisions about my own body,” she said. “I cannot support anything that threatens or removes that human right, and I can’t believe this policy is proposed.”

The patients spoke out because, aside from the impact it would have on all family planning services, the gag rule essentially is a backdoor approach to “defund” Planned Parenthood.

“The proposed regulation would fundamentally change the Title X program, denying millions of patients access to trusted health-care providers like Planned Parenthood. It defies logic for an administration that opposes abortion to decrease access to birth control — the front-line defense and most effective means to prevent the need for abortion,” said Planned Parenthood Southeastern PA President and CEO Dayle Steinberg, who joined the governor and patients at the event.

The Title X program in Pennsylvania serves nearly 170,000 patients a year, and Planned Parenthood serves 40 percent of those patients, despite being only 13 percent of the physical sites. Imposing the gag rule to deny women access to care is dangerous and intrusive, and it ignores the voices of patients, advocates and medical professionals who champion quality health care.

Proponents claim patients who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers can easily find the services somewhere else, but federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that provide contraceptive services would have to in some cases quadruple their caseload to make up for the gap — something they have said they simply cannot do.

Nearly 50 percent of Planned Parenthood’s health centers already are in medically underserved areas of the state — areas meant to be served by Title X. That means efforts to block Planned Parenthood from the program would disenfranchise mostly people of color and those with low incomes. More than 70 percent of counties that Planned Parenthood serves already have a shortage of health-care providers.

There has been widespread opposition against this rule, with more than seven in 10 Americans strongly disapproving of the Trump administration’s agenda to take a women’s basic health care along with the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, American College of Physicians, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

ABOUT PLANNED PARENTHOOD PENNSYLVANIA ADVOCATES: In partnership with the three Planned Parenthood affiliates in Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, the state public affairs office in Harrisburg, works to achieve maximum public, governmental and media support for reproductive health care – including family planning – by developing, implementing and facilitating a statewide strategy.

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