July 26, 2019

Van Hollen, Democrats Call for Reversal Amid Confusion and Concern Over Trump-Pence Administration’s Gag Rule That Will Undermine Health Care for Millions of Women

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and a group of Democratic Senators sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar slamming the Trump-Pence Administration’s new gag rule that compromises the Title X family planning program and the health care of millions of people who rely on Title X-funded providers for cancer screenings, STI screenings, contraceptive care, family planning services, and more. The letter came as the Administration’s minimal and conflicting guidance about its harmful rule has caused confusion and concern among providers. The Senators called on the Trump Administration to reverse course on the rule and maintain the essential care Title X-funded clinics provide for over four million patients nationwide.

“Over the past few weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided minimal and conflicting guidance to health care providers about how and when the Department intends to enforce the Trump Administration’s Title X rule. This rule will undermine the essential confidential nature of the patient-provider relationship at the nearly 4,000 health centers receiving Title X funding. It will also needlessly compromise health care for the millions of people who rely on the critical services provided by those centers, including comprehensive family planning and screening for diseases such as HIV and cancer. In light of this dangerous impact and the many concerns raised by health care providers, patients, and other stakeholders throughout the development of this rule, we believe the rule should be rescinded,” wrote the Senators.

“Four million patients who rely on Title X-funded programs now face limited options, as clinics and providers recognize the new regulation will force them to choose between receiving federal funds and upholding the confidential relationship between patient and health care provider,” the Senators warned.

The Trump Administration’s gag rule undermines the historically bipartisan Title X family planning program and will impact roughly 4,000 Title X-funded clinics operating in all 50 states. The rule interferes with the essential confidential nature of the patient-provider relationship and needlessly compromises health care for the millions of people—particularly poor and low-income patients—who seek care at Title X-funded clinics.

The letter was also signed by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jack Reed (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Mark Warner (VA), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

Read the full letter HERE: