ADVOCACY

OPPOSE PROPOSED GAG RULE IMPACTING ACCESS TO CRITICAL WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE

In May, the Trump administration proposed new rules regarding the federal Title X Family Planning Program that would drastically affect women’s access to family planning services and health care.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Use our TEMPLATE LETTER to submit a public comment to HHS expressing your opposition to the proposed new Title X funding rules.  Be sure to insert your signature block and feel free to personalize.   

You can submit public comment by one of the following methods: 


2. Mail or Hand Delivery
    • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Population Affairs, Attention: Family Planning, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 716G, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20201.
For further information, you may contact at HHS Valerie Huber at (202) 690-7694

Deadline to submit was July 31.

WHAT IS TITLE X?

For decades, the Title X Family Planning Program has been an essential element of women’s access to health care, helping women have healthier families and lead healthier lives.

The federal program provides comprehensive family planning care for women and ensures high-quality health care regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, or ability to cover out-of-pocket costs associated with contraception services.

It is the only federal domestic program focused solely on providing women with critical reproductive health services related to family planning and contraception, including physical exams, prescriptions, laboratory exams, contraceptive supplies, and referrals when medically needed. The program also offers educational and counseling services for both providers and patients.

Title X clinics serve about 4 million individuals each year and fill a void in access to family planning services that would otherwise not be available to many women.

WHY ARE THE PROPOSED NEW REGULATIONS HARMFUL TO WOMEN?

REDUCES ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS 

The new rule takes away funding for family planning services from providers who also perform abortions, such as Planned Parenthood. Even though no federal funding is given for any type of abortion services, these providers would now be denied funding for other types of care. Patients who visit these providers would lose access to essential family planning and reproductive care. 

IMPOSES A DOMESTIC GAG RULE 

The new rule also prohibits doctors, nurses, hospitals, community health centers and clinics that receive federal Title X funds from referring women to clinics that provide abortions, even if they ask. This means that even providers who don’t perform abortions would still be barred from talking about the procedure with their patients. This would put doctors and other health care workers in a difficult position: If a patient with an unplanned pregnancy asks about her options, they would have to omit abortion from the list. If a patient asks specifically whether she can get an abortion, they would have to say no or refuse to discuss the issue.

DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTS LOW INCOME WOMEN 

Title X funding is mandated to focus on patients who are low-income or uninsured, or otherwise have difficulty getting health care. Two-thirds of patients who get care through the program live at or below the federal poverty line. If abortion providers were excluded from Title X, other Title X providers would have to increase their caseloads, which may not be feasible. This means many patients will simply go without contraceptive care, STI screenings, and other crucial health services.


URGE YOUR SENATOR TO VOTE NO ON SUPREME COURT NOMINEE BRETT KAVANAUGH

On Monday July 9th, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. If his nomination is confirmed by the Senate, he will threaten women’s health in multiple and significant ways. Therefore, we urge you to contact your senators to vote NO on his confirmation. 

Affordable Care Act 
The Affordable Care Act continues to be challenged in courts across the country, provision by provision, and its remaining protections could end up before the Supreme Court again. In particular, Kavanaugh could rule that insurers are allowed to refuse insurance to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Before the ACA protections, having had a C-section or being a victim of domestic violence were considered pre-existing conditions in some states, which provided a basis to deny insurance coverage to women. 

Contraception 
The Affordable Care Act guarantees that all women receive contraception with no co-pay and no deductibles. Though some organizations who disagree with this practice based on religious grounds are exempt from this requirement, Kavanaugh could go even further to completely overturn the coverage mandate, which has provided access to birth control for millions of women who could not afford it before the ACA. In a 2015 case, while serving as a Justice on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal, Kavanaugh disagreed with a decision to uphold the requirements of the contraceptive mandate of the ACA. 

Roe v. Wade 
In 1973, the Supreme Court recognized a women’s constitutional right to an abortion. Kavanaugh could overturn this decision that has been in place for 45 years. He has publicly praised former Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s opposition to Roe v. Wade. If the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, women would immediately lose access to legal abortion in 22 states, and likely lose access in another 8 states. As was the case before Roe v. Wade, women will seek out dangerous alternatives endangering their health and their future. 

We urge you to contact your senators to vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

- Call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 

- Send an email to Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris. Copy and paste the template below into your email.

Click here to locate other Senators and their contact information. 

Click here to locate your Representative and their contact information. Even though they are not voting, they are making statements and still need to hear from you.

Email template:

Dear Senator ____, 

I am writing to urge that you vote NO on appointing Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. His appointment will jeopardize women’s health and eliminate decades of progress made towards improving the health and welfare of women in Orange County and across the country. 

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned. Women will no longer have access to all of the health care they need, when they need it. They will not be able to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Many women may seek out dangerous alternatives if they do have legal access to abortions. 

If the Affordable Care Act comes before the Supreme Court again, Kavanaugh may rule to eliminate important protections currently included in the ACA – such as allowing insurance companies to once again deny health insurance coverage based on a person having a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA, women who have had C-sections or were victims of domestic violence were viewed as pre-existing conditions in some states, and this served as a basis to deny health insurance. Without access to affordable health care, women will not be able to live healthy, productive lives. 

Finally, Kavanaugh could completely overturn the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate, which has provided access to birth control for millions of women with no co-pays and no deductibles. Only when a woman can access affordable birth control can she determine whether and when to have children, and only then can she fully participate in civic, educational, economic, and community life. 

We must not allow someone to sit on the Supreme Court who is likely to put women’s access to affordable, quality health care health and women’s ability to make decisions about their own health as such risk. Please vote no on Kavanaugh! 

Sincerely, 

[YOUR NAME]


OCWHP POSITION STATEMENT ON PROTECTING WOMEN’S HEALTH IN THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The Orange County Women's Health Project has developed a Position Statement that explains why we support the Affordable Care Act in greater detail.