WASHINGTON – Today, the White House announced a new regulation to limit funding for Title X clinics that perform, refer or even discuss abortions with their patients. The rule goes beyond existing regulations which already prohibit federal funds, including Title X, to be used for abortion. Title X is the only federal program directly dedicated to funding birth control. Title X funds 4,000 clinics serving 4 million patients who are low-income, uninsured, or have other difficulty getting health care – including due to pre-existing conditions or disability. Two-thirds of these patients live at or below the federal poverty line; more than half are women of color; and 13 percent are limited English proficient.
“This rule is an attack on the health and economic well-being of American women and families,” said Kathy Ko Chin, President and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). “By preventing the thousands of clinics receiving Title X funding from discussing the full scope of reproductive health care, the rule interferes with the health provider-patient relationship. The same women who rely on Title X clinics as their lifeline for culturally and linguistically accessible care, including birth control, sexual health counseling and testing and preventive care, are the women who will be most impacted.”
APIAHF strongly denounces the proposed regulation which is being referred to as a domestic gag rule. The rule threatens to intensify health disparities already experienced by Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) women and other women of color. Almost 42% of Asian women were not using contraception from 2006 – 2010, compared to approximately 34% of White women. While the Affordable Care Act has greatly expanded access to reliable and affordable health insurance coverage for AAs and NHPIs, seven percent of AAs remain uninsured and many populations within the AA and NHPI have double digit uninsured rates. Title X funded health programs are critical for serving the remaining uninsured, as well as youth and young adults and others who find it difficult to access sexual and reproductive health care. If funding is removed, providers will have to make a choice between closing their doors or providing inaccurate information to patients.
APIAHF intends to submit comments to oppose the rule and encourages members of the public to do the same.
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