The latest attack on women’s reproductive rights by the Trump administration will fall disproportionately on low-income earners.
The “gag rule” – the latest blow to American women’s reproductive rights – will come into effect on 4 March with low-income women to be the most affected.
Under the changes, taxpayer-funded clinics in the Title X program – the federal grant program that subsidises affordable birth control and other medical care for low-income patients – will be banned from making abortion referrals.
The rule will also bar these clinics from sharing office space with abortion providers, which could force many providers to find new locations, undergo expensive remodels or shut down – reducing women’s access to the program and leading to increased strain on several other facilities. This doesn’t only affect women’s access to abortion, it also means women will not be able to access affordable birth control, and health care like cancer screenings and STI testing.
Judge Richard Paez, one of the four dissenting judges, described the rule as a “gross overreach” and warned that “women and their families will suffer” for it.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America reacted to the news on Twitter and vowed to fight the decision. It said: “Your access to health care shouldn’t depend on how much you earn, where you live, or who you are. We’ll never give up on our patients and we’ll continue to do everything we can to fight this rule.”
Advocacy group Planned Parenthood Action also took to social media to denounce the Trump administration’s “unethical, dangerous gag rule”.
It tweeted: “[The rule is] denying relief for patients across the country who depend on Planned Parenthood and other Title X providers for birth control and other care. Congress must reverse the gag rule. #ProtectX.”
In another tweet, it said: “As a reminder, the gag rule puts up egregious barriers for people with low incomes to get birth control and preventative care like STI testing, education, and cancer screenings. Before being forced out of Title X, Planned Parenthood served 40% of patients in the program.”
This is the latest move by the Trump administration to wind back women’s reproductive rights – which in many states are being regressed to a level not seen since the 1950s. But it is nothing more than a desperate and thinly-veiled attempt by Donald Trump to cling to power – and tragically, one that comes at the expense of women’s health and safety.