UPDATE: On June 20, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stayed preliminary injunctions blocking implementation the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule. This decision allows the rule to take immediate effect nationwide (barring Maryland, which is covered by a separate preliminary injunction). Your voice in now more important than ever!
On February 22, the Trump administration released its final regulation implementing a domestic gag rule designed to shut down programs across the country providing safe and effective reproductive health care. Under the new rule, federally funded family planning clinics can no longer refer a patient for abortion and will be forced to maintain “clear physical and financial separation” between services funded by the government and any organization that provides or refers patients for abortions. Make no mistake: the dismantling of Title X threatens the health of 4 million patients.
We will not be silent in the face of Trump’s attempts to gag patients and providers. Take action today to speak out against this dangerous, unconscionable, and illegal policy!
- Visit, call, or email your lawmaker. Your lawmakers can (and should) speak out against the domestic gag rule too! House Democrats voted on June 19 to approve an appropriations package including strong language blocking the gag rule and implementing a historic funding increase for the program. Encourage your senators to promote the issue by speaking on the floor, educating their colleagues, hosting a briefing or hearing, or speaking to the media. Call or email your senators or use our resources to plan a successful advocacy visit demanding inclusion of this critical language in the Senate appropriations bill.
- Courts Matter! Advocate for a fair and independent judiciary. Two nationwide injunctions — as well as a separate preliminary injunction covering only California — prevented the gag rule from taking effect on May 3. However, as a result of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling on June 20, these injunctions have been lifted and the regulation has taken effect in all states (except Maryland). This is yet another example of why Courts Matter! The federal courts not only have the power to temporarily stay the gag rule, but will also decide the ultimate legality of the policy. Tell your lawmakers that we need fair, independent arbiters of justice who will uphold constitutional rights, including reproductive rights and access to basic health care.
- Write an op-ed, LTE, or blog post. The timely publication of opinion pieces is a great way to make your voice heard and to advance critical issues. While the Title X gag rule moves through the courts, it is especially important to continue to raise awareness about its devastating effects and to lift up those most impacted by the policy. Key states to target include AZ, CA, CO, IL, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, NC, OH, PA, WA, and WI. Check out our resources on writing effective op-eds, LTEs, and blog posts!
Whatever action you choose to take, consider these talking points:
- For nearly 50 years, Title X has been the only federal domestic program guaranteeing free or low-cost access to physical exams, prescriptions, STI testing, cancer screenings, contraception, and other critical reproductive health services. The Trump administration’s devastating changes to the program threaten the health of 4 million patients.
- By prohibiting participating providers from referring patients for abortion services or discussing the full range of pregnancy options, the gag rule places partisan, anti-abortion politics between people and their doctors. What’s more, every major medical association denounced the policy, stating that it would “dangerously interfere with the patient-physician relationship and conflict with physicians’ ethical obligations, exclude qualified providers, and jeopardize public health.”
- The requirement of “clear physical and financial separation” between services funded by the government and any organization that provides abortions or referrals for abortions is both medically unnecessary and cost prohibitive. Clinics will be forced to close or to drop out of the program if they are unable or unwilling to comply, creating gaps in coverage and preventing patients from accessing the care they need.
- What’s more, the policy goes beyond these more well-known provisions. The rule also undermines patient confidentiality and trust by requiring providers to encourage family participation for all patients and to document in a minor’s medical record the specific actions taken to do so. Further, the regulation alters the criteria for awarding Title X grants and appears to give HHS complete discretion to disqualify applicants before the review process even begins.
- In pursuing tzedek (justice) for all, we refuse to stand idly by while barriers to health care place any individual’s health or well-being at risk. This is especially true for the people of color, young people, low-income people, immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals who largely rely on the Title X program. Every person – regardless of their income, race, source of insurance, or other factors – should have access to basic reproductive health care and it is the statutory responsibility of the Title X program to provide such care.
- The Title X gag rule tramples patients’ moral autonomy and religious liberty. NCJW works to ensure that each person may make their own moral and faith-informed decisions about their body and future. By giving patients limited information about their health care options and emphasizing that the rule opens the program to entities with religious or moral objections to abortion, the Trump administration attempts to enshrine one religious view into law and violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution.