This past June, the Trump Administration proposed rule changes to the Title X family planning funding, aimed at blocking people from getting accurate information about their reproductive health care options. More than half a million comments were submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services opposing the rule, including nearly 500 from RHAP’s community. Despite this, the Trump Administration announced last week that they are moving forward with the changes. In effect, this “domestic gag rule” will bar clinics and providers who receive Title X funding from offering patients referrals and even information about abortion services. It will prevent health care clinicians from being able to offer comprehensive options counseling and require that abortion services and family planning services be physically separated. All of this will continue to place the heaviest burden on individuals who already experience lack of access to health care services.
Title X, which was signed into law by the Nixon administration, is a federal grant program that provides public funding for family planning services, including (but not limited to) contraception, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and cervical cancer screenings. Thanks to Title X, about four million low-income women are able to access these critical services. Many community health centers and family planning clinics (including Planned Parenthood) receive Title X funding. It’s important to remember that, because of the Hyde Amendment, no federal funding is used for abortion services, even if those clinics offer abortion care.
The domestic gag rule restricts clinicians’ free speech and denies patients the right to access the care they need and want. Clinicians not only have a legal right to provide access to reproductive care, but they also have an ethical obligation to provide the best care possible to their patients. The Reproductive Health Access Project stands firmly behind our clinicians who work at Title X-funded clinics and the patients that they serve.
Women’s History Month was established in 1987 – 76 years after the first observance of International Women’s Day – to honor women’s accomplishments and contributions throughout American history. The celebration and recognition of Women’s History Month was fought for by generations of activists who drew attention to the oppression and inequalities women faced in society.
RHAP is proud to honor the achievements of women whose impact on science, politics, art, and other aspects of American society is vast. This Women’s History Month, please join us in taking a look back at some of the change-makers and unsung heroes we featured last year in our reproductive justice campaign, A Common Thread: Weaving reproductive health, rights, and justice.
RHAP cheers the passage of New York State’s Reproductive Health Act (RHA). First proposed to the New York State legislature nearly a decade ago, the RHA faced an uphill battle. After passing several times in the New York State House, the bill languished in the Republican-controlled New York Senate. The 2018 midterm elections changed the legislative landscape, leading to RHA’s passage into law on January 22, 2019.
The RHA modernizes New York State’s abortion laws, taking them out of the criminal code and bringing them into the public health arena. The bill keeps abortion legal in New York State no matter what happens to federal abortion laws in the future. The RHA removes the physician-only statute, codifying the essential role of advance practice clinicians (that is, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and nurse midwives) in abortion care. The RHA allows abortion beyond 24 weeks gestational age if needed for health of the mother or a lethal fetal anomaly.
Passage of the RHA has inspired vocal criticism from anti-choice activists. Their publicity focuses on later abortions, raising false threats of abortions close to term. This backlash is affecting the passage of similar legislation proposed in other states like Virginia and Vermont. The storm of controversy provoked by the RHA’s passage demonstrates that we have lots of work ahead, both in New York State and in the rest of the country. Preserving reproductive rights is an ongoing struggle.
We hosted our first RHAPpy hour in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, March 7th at Provision 14, a local bar/restaurant. A big THANK YOU to everyone who came, including our speakers, board members and fellow staff members, for being a part of the conversation. We want to connect in person with our supporters across the country. Getting together over food and drinks is a great way to share stories about the work we do and develop allies who can join us in our quest to strengthen reproductive health.
We travel all over the country and would love to organize more RHAPpy Hours. Are you interested in helping us organize/co-host a RHAPpy hour in your city? Contact our Development Officer at email@example.com. We’d love to do it!
Make a donation
Your gift allows us to train and support health care providers across the United States so they can offer patients compassionate and comprehensive care.