Article by Emmy Duerr
In February of 2019, the Trump administration proposed changes to Title X’s family
planning program that forbid Title X-funded clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, from
performing some of their foundational services. Under the new propositions, providers and staff
are not permitted to refer patients for abortion or accept funds to provide cancer and STI
screenings, even if they use non-federal funds to fund abortion. In place of these services, the
rule recommends referral for prenatal care and social services such as foster care or adoption.
The Trump Administration’s proposed changes, widely known as the “domestic gag rule”
went into effect on July 15, forcing Planned Parenthood to completely withdraw from the Title X
program. Although the intention of the new ruling is to decrease domestic abortion rate, the
consequences will likely reflect those of its international counterpart, the “global gag rule”. The
rule is unlikely to decrease abortion because it reduces women’s access to a broad spectrum of
reproductive health services including contraception, resulting in an increase in unwanted
pregnancies and a correlated increase in abortion rate. There is no relationship between
restrictive legislation and the prevalence of women seeking abortion, potentially resulting in an
increase in unsafe abortion.
The outcome of several lawsuits from Planned Parenthood, in an attempt to protect
American’s ability to “obtain high-quality family planning care that respects their sexual and
reproductive health and rights,” may negate the domestic gag rule in the future. However, the
current outlook on reproductive health rights for Title X recipients is bleak, and updated data on
domestic abortion will likely expose the ineffectiveness of this new legislation.
Turshen, M., & Meulen Rodgers, Y. van der M. (2019, September 4). Why the domestic gag rule is bad news. Retrieved from https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/459677-why-the-domestic-gag-rule-is-bad-news.