On Monday, New Jersey’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates joined others across the country to formally announce their withdrawal from the federal Title X program.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood said the Trump administration is forcing, through an unethical gag rule, the organization and other providers out of Title X—the decades-old, national bipartisan program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood has been in the program since it was created nearly 50 years ago and has been the largest provider, serving 40 percent of all Title X patients nationally.
The gag rule makes it illegal for health care providers in the Title X program to tell patients how or where to access abortion.
In New Jersey, Planned Parenthood provides care to more than 70 percent of all Title X patients in the state, putting access to essential health services at risk for thousands of New Jersey residents. Planned Parenthood was the sole Title X provider in 13 New Jersey counties in 2018. Without it, all other Title X-funded sites in New Jersey would have to increase their contraceptive client caseloads by 254 percent to serve the women who currently obtain birth control from Planned Parenthood health centers.
“Our patients come to us because they expect the best information and health care available – and we have a commitment to give that to them. This gag rule would make it impossible to do that,” said Roslyn Rogers Collins, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “While our doors are still open today, and they will still be open tomorrow, we need Congress to take action to fight back against this attack on our patients’ health, rights, and freedoms,” Collins said.
The rule also imposes additional burdensome “physical separation” restrictions meant to push reproductive health care providers out of the program. Planned Parenthood, along with a number of other grantees across the country, including seven states and the only Title X grantee in the state of Maine, have all made clear that they would find it impossible to comply with the gag rule and still provide quality, ethical medical care.
Planned Parenthood nationwide plays an essential role in the Title X program, serving more than 1.5 million patients.
The majority of patients in the Title X program identify as people of color, Hispanic, or Latino. There is already a massive divide between who has and doesn’t have health care in this country, Planned Parenthood said, and this rule will make it worse.
“At Planned Parenthood, we refuse to let the Trump-Pence administration bully us into withholding abortion information from our patients,” said Triste Brooks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey. “The gag rule is unethical and dangerous, and we will not subject our patients to it – because every person deserves to make their own decisions about their health care.”