The Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America minces no words when it comes to the Trump administration’s gag rule, calling it immoral, unethical, and dangerous.

The Trump administration used its gag rule to force Planned Parenthood health centers out of Title X – putting health care at risk for 1.5 million people. The Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced Monday, Aug. 26 that it stands against this attempt to strip poor people of their health care, and stands with the millions of people across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for their reproductive healthcare.

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.

Planned Parenthood health centers have been a part of Title X since it was created nearly 50 years ago, and the organization has been the largest provider, serving 40 percent of all patients who get care through the program. Title X is meant to ensure that patients who are poor or struggling to make ends meet can still access birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. This gag rule puts that care out of reach by asking doctors and nurses to withhold information about abortion from their patients in order to stay in the program –– a complete violation of ethics, according to the clergy board.

“As faith leaders, we regularly counsel congregation members who are struggling to make ends meet, to keep themselves and their families healthy, and to make the right decisions for themselves and their families when it comes to every facet of their reproductive health. The gag rule takes away their health care and their options,” said the Rev. Marci Auld Glass, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board Chair and a Presbyterian minister in Boise, Idaho.

The Rev. Vincent Lachina, a Baptist minister who serves on Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Clergy Advocacy Boards, and as the Regional Chaplain to Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, based in Seattle, Wash. said, “This immoral gag rule is bad for women, families, and public health. The Title X program was designed to make reproductive health care services accessible for those who are already struggling, and who already find it hard to get the medical attention they need. Now, millions of people –– especially women of color and those with low incomes –– are being denied this fundamental right.”

Made up of leaders from diverse faith traditions, members of the Clergy Advocacy Board recognize that their religious traditions call them to stand with the vulnerable. The Clergy Advocacy Board stands against efforts by politicians to deny millions of people the right to exercise their own moral beliefs in making the best health care decisions for themselves and their families. The Clergy Advocacy Board condemns this gag rule and affirms the goodness of supporting access to comprehensive reproductive health care for every person –– including access to accurate and complete medical information.

Building on the long history of faith leaders taking an active role in supporting reproductive health care, the Clergy Advocacy Board has been working with Planned Parenthood at the national and state levels to further the goal of full reproductive rights and freedom for all people for more than two decades. Its members, who are dedicated clergy and faith leaders from different denominations and communities throughout the U.S., lead a national effort to increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health.

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