US Human Rights Network Blog

US Human Rights Network Blog



We must defend reproductive healthcare and fight the Title X gag rule

Jul 15, 2019

Phoenix, AZ - Following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week, which refused to block the Trump Administration’s Title X gag rule, the US Human Rights Network released the following statement.

Title X is a federal program that provides vital funding to healthcare providers who offer birth control, contraceptives, cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted infection testing, as well as many other essential health services. Two thirds of people in the US who rely on Title X clinics for reproductive and basic healthcare live in poverty. One third of Title X patients are Latinx, and 22% are Black. 

The domestic gag rule, which bans healthcare providers funded by the Title X program from offering abortion care; referring patients to abortion providers; or even discussing abortion as a medical procedure available to patients, puts healthcare access for nearly four million patients at risk. The gag rule will disproportionately affect low-income people including LGBTI individuals, single mothers, people with disabilities, and people of color. The gag rule is a dangerous effort to silence healthcare providers and attack access to healthcare for poor women and women of color. It puts reproductive health clinics in the impossible position of silencing themselves and restricting their patients’ access to health care options, or risking losing funding to function at all. 

Despite the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling last week that puts the Trump Administration’s Title X gag rule into effect, the US Human Rights Network will continue advocating for the human rights to health and to safe and legal abortion in the United States. The right to health is a basic human right grounded in human dignity. The Trump Administration’s attack on reproductive rights, reproductive healthcare and abortion are direct violations of women’s right to health and women’s right to freedom from discrimination. Reproductive health restrictions, including the domestic Title X gag rule, are unacceptable violations of women’s rights.

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling on the domestic gag rule comes the same week as we learn of the slew of anti-abortion advocates and pro-life movement leaders who have been selected to staff the Trump Administration’s new “Commission on Unalienable Rights”. Over half of the ten-member commission are zealous anti-abortion advocates, including Mary Ann Glendon, F. Cartwright Weiland, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Christopher Olaf Tollefson, Jacqueline Rivers, and Paolo Carozza. These developments, alongside a growing list of abortion bans around the country and the Trump Administration’s efforts to remove language about reproductive health from United Nations documents, makes it undeniable that we are in the midst of an overt attempt to restrict reproductive rights, overturn Roe v. Wade, and further marginalize low-income people and people of color. We cannot let the Trump Administration win.

The US Human Rights Network stands with those groups most affected by the gag rule and restrictions against abortion including low-income women, women of color, and LGBTI communities. We must continue fighting the implementation of the domestic Title X gag rule and fighting for access to abortion in order to ensure the right to health, including reproductive health, for all people in the US. 

Our members are working on the ground to protect reproductive healthcare and fight restrictive legislation. Please visit their websites below:

Woodhull Freedom Foundation
Center for Reproductive Rights
California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
SPARK Reproductive Justice

Read USHRN’s statement on the right to safe and legal abortion here.