The Trump administration’s Title X gag rule takes effect today in every state but Maryland, after a ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Just yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a spending package that would block the gag rule from being implemented because it’s dangerous, it’s unethical, and it’s illegal – and now the Senate must act.
Planned Parenthood is the only Title X provider in Vermont. Trump’s gag rule makes it illegal for health care providers in the Title X program to refer patients for abortion, and also blocks access to care at Planned Parenthood by imposing cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements. Planned Parenthood has a limited emergency fund that will allow affiliates to continue care for patients in the short term, while seeking further emergency relief from the 9th Circuit.
Title X helps millions of people struggling to make ends meet – including 10,000 Vermonters – access birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other essential reproductive health care. Providers of care to nearly 50 percent of the Title X patients have made it clear that the rule would force them out of program – the administration is putting health care at risk for patients across the country.
Statement from Lucy Leriche, Vice President of Public Policy, Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund:
“The Trump administration’s gag rule is unethical, illegal, and harmful to public health. There are 10,000 Vermonters who rely on Title X health centers for cancer screenings, HIV tests, affordable birth control and other critical primary and preventive care.
“Planned Parenthood will not stand for this attack on millions of people across the country. We will be immediately seeking emergency relief from the Court of Appeals. Planned Parenthood will not let the government censor our doctors and nurses from informing patients where and how they can access health care. We will continue to fight the Trump administration in the courts and alongside champions in Congress to protect everyone’s fundamental right to health care.”
Last year, a diverse coalition of Vermont health care organizations strongly opposed threats to Vermonters’ access to essential health care services proposed by the federal Health and Human Services Department. They include: Bi-State Primary Care Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Office of the Health Care Advocate, MVP Health Care, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, UVM Medical Center, Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, Vermont Care Partners: VT Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services, VT Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured, Vermont Medical Society, Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care (VPQHC), and VNAs of Vermont.
The 9th Circuit granted the request from the Trump administration to block the preliminary injunctions in California, Oregon, and Washington, which allows the gag rule to go into effect in all states besides Maryland. Four judges had previously blocked the rule, with two judges blocking it nationwide.
The medical community, public health experts, and the general public are against this rule. In addition to the American Medical Association, the gag rule has been opposed by major medical associations, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, as well as 110 public health organizations, and public health experts such as former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, and many others. A group of 19 different medical organizations, mayors, state lawmakers, over 200 Members of Congress, newly elected Democratic governors, and several other governors have opposed this legislation as well.