Threats to Reproductive Rights

By Julie Mickelberry, Vice President

Planned Parenthood California Central Coast Action Fund

Over the last two years, we’ve seen unprecedented attacks on access to reproductive health care and rights.  Just this year, 303 bills restricting access to safe, legal abortion care were filed in 47 states; 135 of these bills are bans on abortion in some, or all, circumstances.  We’re in a state of emergency and an emboldened Drumpf-Pence administration is using its executive powers to further threaten and create dangerous barriers to access to basic reproductive health care for people across the country.

This week, the Title X gag rule went into effect and California Planned Parenthood health care centers were forced to withdraw from the nation’s only program that is dedicated to family planning.  Title X has been a hugely successful program for more than 50 years ensuring that every person – regardless of where they live, their income, their background, or whether they are insured – has access to basic, preventive reproductive health care, such as birth control, cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment. That access is being stripped away from millions by forcing providers like Planned Parenthood out of the program.

The decision to withdraw did not come easily, but Planned Parenthood health centers simply cannot comply with an unethical and harmful rule that is inconsistent with our mission and core values.  Planned Parenthood believes that people deserve accurate information and access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including safe, legal abortion, so they can make their own fully informed health care decisions. Patients expect the best information and health care available and this dangerous gag rule makes it impossible for providers to deliver the comprehensive reproductive health care that people need and deserve.

The court fight over Title X is not over and we 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. Supporters need to call on Congress to protect the 4 million people that rely on Title X.

Until then, 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.

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