The Trump Administration, despite massive opposition, has published their most recent dangerous attack on reproductive healthcare — the Domestic Gag Rule. The Domestic Gag Rule is an extremely harmful policy that threatens the healthcare of thousands of Delawareans and millions of Americans nationwide, by directly attacking the Title X program.
Title X (“Title Ten,” named for its section in the federal Public Health Service Act), is the only federal program dedicated solely to providing family planning and reproductive healthcare to people of all genders who otherwise would not be able to afford care. Approximately two-thirds of Title X patients have an income below the poverty line.
These funds can be used to reimburse providers for STI testing/treatment, HIV testing, birth control, cancer screenings, annual preventive visits, pregnancy tests and pap smears. Title X funds cannot be used to reimburse providers for abortion services.
In 2017, more than 18,000 Delawareans have used Title X funds to access reproductive health care, and Planned Parenthood of Delaware serves over a third of those patients. The Gag Rule would make it much more difficult for people to receive care.
This Domestic Gag Rule makes it illegal for health care providers in the program to provide or even refer patients for an abortion. Additionally, this rule imposes costly and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements on health centers that provide abortion, which could force health centers to construct a whole new health center or hire an entire second staff.
Because of our commitment to ethical patient care, it would be impossible for Planned Parenthood of Delaware to continue participating in the program. We won’t withhold critical information from our patients. We will continue to provide care to everyone who needs it.
The gag rule will directly harm the people in our state who are already the most vulnerable to the rising cost of healthcare and increased health inequities, namely communities of color, young folks, and people with low incomes.
At Planned Parenthood of Delaware, 37 percent of the patients who access our services through the Title X program identify as black or African-American, and 11 percent identify as Hispanic. A majority of the people who would be impacted by the gag rule — at least 52 percent — are Delawareans of color.
For people of color, the right to bodily autonomy and quality health care has been consistently under attack throughout this country’s history, leading to huge disparities in health outcomes between women of color and white women. Dismantling Title X will limit health care options even further and worsen the massive divide that already exists in health care.
The Domestic Gag Rule is opposed by the medical community, lawmakers and public health experts. Lawmakers in Delaware, including Sen. Carper, Sen. Coons, Rep. Blunt-Rochester, Mayor Purzycki and Mayor Sierer, signed onto letters demanding that no changes are made to the Title X program. Major medical associations, such as the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians, also oppose this rule.
Planned Parenthood of Delaware opposes the Domestic Gag Rule, and we will continue to be there for our patients and fight for everyone’s access to basic healthcare. Despite the Gag Rule, we will continue to provide care to our patients, and continue to offer our services to everyone. We will work our hardest to ensure our patients’ healthcare remains intact, and that everyone is able to access reproductive health services.
We believe that everyone has the right to access information about their healthcare — which includes safe, legal abortion. Everyone, regardless of their race, of their income, or where they live, deserves the best medical care and information available. Under this rule, they won’t get it.
Simply put, the Trump Administration’s latest attack on reproductive healthcare is dangerous to our patients, and we won’t stop fighting until all Delawareans are able to control their own bodies, and their own lives.
The mission of Planned Parenthood of Delaware is “to ensure the right of all individuals to access the appropriate information and the services necessary to make and act on personal decisions related to their own reproduction, sexuality and health.” Planned Parenthood provides family planning, gynecological services, abortion, cancer screening, STD testing and treatment, health education and more. The agency serves all three counties, has operated in Delaware for 87 years, and serves 11,000 clients each year. For further information, visit www.ppdel.org.
By Planned Parenthood of Delaware
Special to the Coastal Point