FAQ - Title X, Gag Rule and more

Source: Planned Parenthood Action Fund

So, what is Title X?

Title X — pronounced "title ten" — is a federal funding program established in 1970 that provides affordable birth control and reproductive health care to people with low incomes.

Because of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other systemic barriers that contribute to income inequality, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people in rural areas make up a large proportion of the people who rely on Title X for care.

The program has received bipartisan support from Congress since its inception, until now.

What's the gag rule, and why is it called that?

The Trump-Pence administration issued a "rule" that makes it illegal for health care providers that participate in Title X to talk with their patients about how and where they can access abortion safely and legally. Providers would, essentially, be gagged! The rule also includes a number of other provisions designed to block people from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

Let's be clear: This is not about health care. This is about politicians putting patients at risk to advance their ultimate agenda, which is to fundamentally restrict our reproductive health and rights. It's a direct and politically-motivated attack on anyone who has gotten health care at Planned Parenthood health centers and similar reproductive health care providers.

Why is Planned Parenthood suing the Trump administration?

The Trump-Pence administration's gag rule is illegal and unethical. That's why Planned Parenthood, along with the American Medical Association, took the administration to court to stop them from implementing the rule.

Our movement scored a big (but temporary) victory in that case when the court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the gag rule from going into effect. Since then, we've seen steps forward and back in the legal fight.

What can Congress do?

That's why we've also pushed for Congress to pass legislation that protects Title X and Title X patients from the administration's attacks. With President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rushing extreme judicial nominee after extreme judicial nominee onto the federal bench, we can't rely on the courts to stop this attack. Congress must finish the job and protect Title X.

What happens to patients if we don't stop the gag rule?

Planned Parenthood health centers serve about 40% of the 4 million patients who receive Title X health care.

We know what happens when politicians block patients from getting the care they need at Planned Parenthood health centers. Look at Texas, where tens of thousands of women are not receiving care because of similar policies. Patients' care is at risk. We have to stop the gag rule once and for all.

Is there anything we can do?

When a case like this is making its way through the courts, it's always helpful to let people know where you stand by talking to your friends and family and doing things like posting on social media. We really need your help to take this fight to Congress.

Reproductive health champions recently introduced a provision that would protect Title X and the 4 million people who obtain birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and accurate, nonjudgmental care in the program every year.

We've got to keep making noise about the dangers of the gag rule. Make sure your senators know where you stand: Call them to let them know you support Title X.

Another thing you can do is to educate yourself on this dangerous rule and why we need to undo it.

Susan Meltsner