Do Not Impose ‘Gag Rule’ on Women’s Health Clinics

Target: Alex M. Azar II, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Goal: Do not remove federal funding from clinics for simply referring women to safe and legal abortions.

The White House is announcing its intention to revive a proposal, similar to one withdrawn during the Reagan era, that would strip health clinics of federal funding for providing women with complete information about their health options. In order to get government assistance, health care facilities would be forbidden to so much as tell a woman where she could receive a safe and legal abortion. Planned Parenthood and clinics like it will again be at risk, as this new rule would apply to Title X (the federal program that funds things like screenings and reproductive health services for low-income Americans.)

Advocates for women’s rights refer to this as a “gag rule.” Even though laws already prohibit federal funding from going toward abortion procedures, this new rule goes even further and “is not only unconscionable, but it undermines medical ethics by forcing health care professionals to withhold accurate and timely medical information from patients,” as Dr. Jenn Conti of Physicians for Reproductive Health says.

This rule is dangerous as well as discriminatory. Women will no longer be assured that they are getting full and accurate health care information from their doctors—including when it comes to life and death situations. As Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, states, “This is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights, period. Under this rule, people will not get the health care they need. They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams. Everyone has the right to information about their health care — including information about safe, legal abortion, and every woman deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. No matter what. They won’t get it under this rule.” Sign below to demand that this dangerous and oppressive gag rule be withdrawn.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Azar,

Removing federal funding from clinics that so much as refer women for abortions is an unacceptable assault on human rights. You have a responsibility to the American people—including women—who are entitled to affordable health care and the peace of mind that comes with being assured that their doctors are not withholding information from them regarding their health care. This rule would trample on those rights and endanger women. As Cecile Richards, a former president of Planned Parenthood, states, even in the case of a woman with a life-threatening condition like cancer, “her health care provider could refuse to tell her that abortion is legal, that it’s even an option.”

Already, federal funding does not go toward abortion services. It is used for critical care like STD and cancer screenings, treatment, and general health exams for low-income women and families. By stripping that funding away, low-income Americans are left high and dry. According to Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Dawn Laguens, “Everyone has the right to information about their health care — including information about safe, legal abortion, and every woman deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. No matter what. They won’t get it under this rule.” I urge you to respect basic human rights and America’s democracy and to withdraw this proposal immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Charlotte Cooper

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2 Comments

  1. Isn’t the gag rule in direct contradiction to the First Amendment?

  2. gen agustsson says:

    this is war against women. women need health care not get sicker.

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