In a striking blow for women's health and rights, the Trump administration has announced that it is proposing a new rule related to federal family planning funding. The proposed rule would strip federal Title X funding from any organization that provides women with or refers them for abortions. This rule, which many are referring to as a domestic "gag rule," would severely inhibit many women's ability to receive essential reproductive health services. If you want to
help stop Trump's Title X abortion funding rule from being implemented, there are several ways you can take a stand to fight for women's health and rights. Trump's proposed "gag rule" has been posted to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)' website, but not yet published in the Federal Register. According to The Washington Post, the proposed rule has been sent to the White House budget office for an interagency review, a process which will likely take multiple months.
If enacted, many believe that the rule will be absolutely detrimental for women's health. The proposed rule precludes
doctors at clinics that receive Title X funding from referring women for abortion procedures, infringing heavily on women's rights. It also forces many reproductive health organizations to choose between continuing to provide abortion services and forgoing their Title X funding — or ending abortion services and inhibiting women from accessing them.
Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, an organization which stands to be profoundly affected by the proposed rule, highlighted the many problems with the rule in a press release on Tuesday:
This is the worst attack on women’s health and rights we’ve seen from the Trump-Pence administration. No woman should be denied basic information about her health care — including safe and legal abortion ... [Moreover], the result of this rule is that 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.
So, if you wish to take a stand to help stop Trump's Title X abortion funding rule, the time is now. The list below offers some ways in which you can raise your voice to protect women's rights.
Donate To Reproductive Rights Organizations, In Anticipation Of Upcoming Lawsuits And Advocacy Work
If and when Trump's proposed Title X rule is enacted, reproductive rights
organizations will likely respond by suing the Department of Health and Human Services. Indeed, two lawsuits have already been filed regarding separate Title X matters by Planned Parenthood and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association and American Civil Liberties Union. These existing Title X suits likely indicate a willingness to pursue further legal action in the future.
It is certainly quite likely that these same organizations could file additional lawsuits regarding the new proposed rule — and they will need funds to help support their court fights. Moreover, in addition to potential lawsuits, many reproductive rights organizations will also be heavily involved in advocacy work and service provision in response to Trump's proposed rule. The following are donation links for the aforementioned organizations as well as for other prominent reproductive rights organizations in the United States:
Provide A Public Comment On HHS' Proposed New Rule
Raise Awareness And Educate
It is crucial to quickly raise awareness about the implications of Trump's proposed Title X abortion funding rule, so that people know exactly how detrimentally the proposed rule change could affect women. This
helpful web page from Suit Up Maine offers graphics you can share on social media that succinctly explain the implications of Trump's proposed rule. This will allow you to easily spread the message to those in your networks. The organization suggests using the hashtag #NoGagRule when sharing Title X-related messages on social media.
Suit Up Maine's website also provides talking points that you can use when discussing the issue with your friends and family, helping facilitate your ability to raise awareness in-person as well.
Thank Planned Parenthood And Other Title X-Funded Clinics
If you use the services of Planned Parenthood or another Title X-funded reproductive health clinic, consider thanking whichever clinic you use on social media (only if, of course, you are comfortable doing so). This will help draw attention to just how widely-used and utterly necessary these services are for thousands of women around the country. And to how profoundly detrimental Trump's new rule could be for women.
Join D.C.'s #NoGagRule Rally Or Other Cities' Initiatives
On Wednesday, May 23, Planned Parenthood Action and Planned Parenthood Generation Action are
holding a rally on Capitol Hill to protest the proposed new rule. If you are in or willing to travel to Washington, D.C., consider attending the rally, which begins at 5:30 p.m. ET. Make sure to RSVP if you do plan to attend.
Moreover, if you're not in D.C., consider attending a #NoGagRule rally in your area.
New York City is holding a similar rally on May 24. Several other cities around the country also are doing the same. To search for rally in your area, simply type #NoGagRule along with your city's name into Twitter's search bar.
Contact Health And Human Services Secretary Alex Azar
Azar's agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for implementing the proposed new rule. Thus, it is imperative to contact the secretary to express your opposition to the rule change. The following reflects the many ways you can reach Azar, so consider using multiple methods of communication:
Encourage Your Legislators To Continue Their Fight
This week, over
200 members of Congress wrote to Secretary Azar to express their disapproval of the proposed new rule. Consider contacting your senators and representatives to encourage them to continue to speak out against Azar and the proposed Title X funding rule — and to take further action if the rule is indeed implemented. You can use Contacting Congress' website to help you easily locate your legislative officials' contact information.
Overall, these represent some of the many ways you can take action now to help fight against Trump's proposed Title X funding rule. If you wish to make your voice heard, it is crucial to do so urgently, because time is of the essence.