The more than 100 Planned Parenthood health care centers in California remain open and will continue to provide affordable, high-quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care to anyone who needs it — today, tomorrow and in the future, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest told Uken Report.

The Trump-Pence Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are pushing Planned Parenthood health centers across the country out of the Title X program. It provides $286 million annually to healthcare providers to pay for family planning services such as birth control.

Planned Parenthood currently serves 1.5 million low-income people throughout the country under the Title X program.

Title X is legally designed to prioritize the needs of low-income families or uninsured people (including those who are not eligible for Medicaid) who might not otherwise have access to these health care services. These services are provided to low-income and uninsured individuals at reduced or no cost.  Its overall purpose is to promote positive birth outcomes and healthy families by allowing individuals to decide the number and spacing of their children.

“With the Title X gag rule currently in effect, California Planned Parenthood health care centers have been forced to withdraw from the Title X program,” Cita Walsh, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, said. “We cannot comply with the unethical and harmful rule that is inconsistent with our mission and values.”

The gag rule makes it illegal for any provider in the Title X program to tell patients how or where to access abortion, and puts in place “physical separation” restrictions on health centers that provide abortion — rules that are clearly meant to shove Planned Parenthood health centers out of Title X.

Planned Parenthood“Planned Parenthood patients come to us because they expect the best information and health care available,” Walsh said. “And we have a commitment to give that to them. This gag rule would make it impossible to do that. We refuse to withhold crucial information from our patients and believe they should be able to make their own decisions about what is best for their lives, health, and families.”

This decision to withdraw from the Title X program did not come easily, Walsh said. The Title X program has been the nation’s only dedicated program for reproductive health care and affordable birth control for more than 50 years and Planned Parenthood serves 40 percent of all Title X patients nationally.

James Williamson of Palm Springs serves on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. “In advocating against the Gag Rule, it’s important that Congressman (Raul) Ruiz be able to share that he heard from his constituents.  I’d encourage all Coachella Valley residents to reach out and let him know that we appreciate that he stands with Planned Parenthood and that he will work to protect Title X.”

Planned Parenthood health centers in California have been proud to be part of the Title X program, serving millions of patients annually, two-thirds of whom received care in one of Planned Parenthood’s 112 health centers. Through the program, Planned Parenthood health centers have been able to increase access to birth control, expand STI testing and treatment, and advance access in other areas of reproductive health care.

“At a time when access to access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health care is under attack, the gag rule further threatens access to basic reproductive health care for people across the country,” Walsh said. “We will continue to fight the gag rule in court and remain hopeful that Congress will act to protect Title X. Congress has the power to stop this gag rule, and protect birth control and reproductive health care for millions of people and supporters need to call on Congress to take action.”

If the Title X gag rule is reversed, Planned Parenthood affiliates in California would look forward to re-joining the program, which has led to such positive health outcomes in the past, Walsh said.

 

Image Sources

  • Patient and physician: Planned Parenthood
  • Planned Parenthood: Shutterstock