Opinion

Team Trump puts the squeeze on providers of reproductive health care

Author: Fawn Bolak - May 22, 2018 - Updated: May 22, 2018

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Fawn Bolak

The Trump/Pence administration is at it again! This less than dynamic duo is intending to introduce a policy, dubbed the “domestic gag rule,” that will undermine patients’ rights to full and accurate medical information while threatening health-care access for millions of people nationwide.

Why would they do this, you ask?

 The new regulation would force federally funded health-care clinics that perform, refer, or even mention abortion as an option to their patients, to discontinue doing so, or risk being defunded. This is a blatant attempt to dismantle the bipartisan Title X program, which provides funds for birth control and other reproductive health-care services to low-income folks who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

Change in this policy would make it nearly impossible for some folks and families to access necessary preventative care such as birth control, well-woman exams, STD treatment, and cancer screenings. Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country could no longer refer patients for safe, legal abortion procedures. For cases of rape, incest, and/or severe life-threatening medical circumstances — who knows?

The prolonged assault by this administration on reproductive freedom is irresponsible, sexist, and devoid of any medical rationale. On the first day of his presidency, Trump set the tone for his anti-choice administration by re-enacting the Mexico City Policy, blocking funding and closing community health-care clinics around the world that offered essential HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, maternal health, and counseling for rape and female genital mutilation, simply because they also offered abortion services or information about the procedure.

From day one, Trump and Pence have brazenly stood against reproductive health care and access to abortion. Since holding office, they have tried to strip funding from comprehensive sex education, removed “reproductive rights” from from the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report, defended the rights of employers to deny insurance coverage for contraception, and much more. Just a few months ago, Vice President Pence addressed the Susan B. Anthony List and Life Institute and declared that we will see and end to abortion “in our time.”

Enough is enough.

We know restricting abortion access won’t end it; it will only increase unsafe abortion procedures. In countries all over the world, and in our own, we have seen the detrimental consequences of denying women their most basic health-care rights — poverty increases; maternal and infant mortality rises; women die, and children and families suffer. This kind of reckless governance is unacceptable.

For almost two decades, Title X has safeguarded patients’ rights and access while mandating that providers cannot withhold information about their full range of health-care options. Four million people currently rely on this essential program for their family planning and reproductive health care. These new restrictions will overwhelmingly impact low-income women, immigrants, women of color, and trans folks. President Trump has proven, once again, that he is willing to trade the rights and well-being of our most vulnerable families to score a few political points with his conservative base.

Reproductive freedom advocates can no longer be content with protecting the status quo while conservative politicians continue to trample all over our most basic health-care rights. This latest attack on abortion is a direct threat to the health care of women and families all across the nation — and right here in Colorado.

All people, regardless of income, deserve full and accurate medical information and access to the reproductive health care they need without government interference. To the legislators in Washington D.C. who support this egregious measure and refuse to advocate for the health and well-being of the communities they represent, I have one message for you:

We’re watching, we vote, and we’ll see you in November.

Fawn Bolak

Fawn Bolak

Fawn Bolak is the reproductive rights content director for ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization.