Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, a panel of federal judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the Trump-Pence administration’s domestic gag rule can go into effect in all states except Maryland, staying three lower-court decisions that had until now blocked implementation of the rule. The final rule, which was released earlier this year, threatened to fundamentally undermine Title X, the nation’s only domestic family planning grant program. With this rule in effect, the health and well-being of the millions of people who benefit from the program’s family planning services are at real risk.
The ruling comes the same week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would block this regressive rule and protect the Title X program. Jamila Taylor, senior fellow and the director of Women’s Health and Rights at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement following the 9th Circuit’s decision:
If the U.S. Senate refuses to join the House in blocking this rule, it will send this loud and clear message to women across America: “We have the right to control your health care decisions and know better than your doctor.” You better believe that message will provoke a powerful response.
Allowing this rule to go into effect will devastate the Title X network and harm more than 4 million low-income women and men who have come to trust and rely on Title X services. The cornerstones of patient-provider relationships are truth and dialogue. This rule puts the government squarely between patients and their doctors by prohibiting doctors from discussing abortion referrals with or providing abortion counseling to their patients, despite that nearly 3 in 4 Americans think that limiting the information a provider can share with their patient is dangerous.
It will also divert Title X funding to fake women’s health centers—organizations that use coercion and manipulation to discourage women from learning about and pursuing all their pregnancy options—while requiring providers that offer abortion services to financially and physically separate their facilities, potentially forcing providers to shut their doors altogether.
Title X has historically been a bipartisan program that has saved taxpayers more than $13 billion and reduced the country’s rates of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births, and abortions. Not only will this rule undo four decades of progress to advance women’s health, but it also represents an all-out assault on reproductive rights, women’s autonomy, and their ability to participate in the economy.
- “What the Domestic Gag Rule Means for Title X Providers” by Osub Ahmed
- “The Threat to Title X Family Planning” by Kiersten Gillette-Pierce and Jamila Taylor
- “The Pillars of Equity” by Heidi Williamson, Kate Bahn, and Jamila Taylor
- “13 Ways States Can Protect and Advance Women’s Health and Rights” by Osub Ahmed
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at gro.ssergorpnacirema@regrebeesc or 202.741.6292.