Title X provides federal funding for family planning services. Organizations like Planned Parenthood utilize this funding for services such as ;
- Wellness exams
- Lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings
- Birth control
- Contraception education
- Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV testing.
These services are provided at affordable rates to low-income patients, thanks in part to this funding source. However, a cabal of conservatives has requested that Trump issue a rule that would effectively ban Planned Parenthood and similar organizations from providing abortion and related services under the same roof as operations funded by federal family-planning grants, according to an administration official. This includes offering patients information and/or referrals to safe abortion providers. This rule would effectively do three things to the Planned Parenthood clientele – 2/3 of whom are below the federal poverty level in terms of income –
- Impose new rules designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.
- Prevent health care providers across the country — including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers — from referring their patients for safe, legal abortion.
- Remove the guarantee that patients get full and accurate information about their health care from their doctor.
Just at the moment when historic gains are being made in Ireland regarding a woman’s right to control her own reproductive system, this rule seeks to take the United States backward to a time when women had little to no control. Shades of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Physicians and nurses have considerable clout. Doctors because of their well-funded lobbying efforts and socioeconomic status. Nurses have two things: sheer numbers and the confidence and trust of the American People. Nurses have now been for 16 years voted the most trusted professionals in this country. It’s time to join our collective voices and advocate for those who cannot – namely the marginalized, socially, economically, and culturally disadvantaged.
OK, so maybe you don’t believe in abortion except in cases of rape or incest. Well, then you do believe a woman should have a right to an abortion, based upon the reason. Who is to judge what is a good or valid reason? If you agree that a woman who was raped should not be made to carry to term, then you believe in abortion rights. Period. You can’t pick and choose the reason. The Supreme Court has again and again reinforced the constitutionality of a woman’s right to choose.
If you believe that no women should be able to have an abortion, then you must also care for their children by providing a safe home, adequate food and health care, education, and support for the parent’s ability to obtain decent child care. Failure to do so rescinds your moral high ground. Christ implored his followers to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, take in those in need in Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, 36 I was naked and you clothed Me. I was sick and you looked after Me…” I believe that is pretty clear directive – as we know he goes on to say that whatever you do for the least of his brothers is done directly unto him.
What can you do if you would like to fight the gag rule? You can submit comments to the Department of Health and Human Services via this website
You can call/write/text/email your Representatives in congress to ask them not to support this effort to take needed health care services away from those with the least ability to pay. Please, help. So many people are depending upon Nurses to take a greater role politically. The IOM said as much in its vision for the future of health care. Now is the time.