May 18, 2021

Wyden, Merkley Support Title X Rule to Reverse the Trump Administration’s Gag Rule

Proposed rule will “ensure patients have widespread, affordable access to the comprehensive family planning services … from providers they trust”

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today joined colleagues in a letter urging Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra to quickly finalize the proposed rule for the Title X family planning program that would reverse the Trump Administration’s gag rule, commit to health equity, and ensure that patients who depend on Title X providers can get the care they need—including for birth control, STD screenings, cancer screenings, and more.

“For over 50 years, the Title X program has been an invaluable tool for providing high-quality family planning and preventive health care to millions of people, many of whom earn low incomes and have extremely limited access to health care,” Wyden, Merkley and 41 other senators wrote in the letter. “We urge you to swiftly finalize the proposed rule to ensure patients have widespread, affordable access to the comprehensive family planning services and cancer and sexually transmitted disease (STD) screenings they need from providers they trust.”

In the letter, the senators expressed their support for Secretary Becerra to act swiftly to reverse the Trump Administration’s harmful gag rule prohibiting providers who receive Title X funds from informing patients about the full range of reproductive health care options available to them, including abortion. Despite the Title X program’s 50 years of bipartisan support, the Trump Administration’s gag rule slashed the Title X-funded health care network’s capacity, compromising the health care of millions patients nationwide—disproportionately women of color—who rely on Title X health centers.

“The proposed rule would be a vital step in reversing the devastating loss of Title X services caused by the 2019 Title X regulations,” continued the senators. “After the 2019 Title X regulations went into effect in July 2019, one-quarter of the clinics in the Title X network were forced to withdraw from the program, which meant at least 1.6 million people lost access to the Title X-supported services that were previously available to them.”

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter was led by Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and co-signed by Senators Bennet, D-Colo., Luján, D-N.M., Booker, D-N.J., Shaheen, D-N.H., Murphy, D-Conn., Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Baldwin, D-Wis., Blumenthal, D-Conn., Smith, D-Minn., Menendez, D-N.J., Warren, D-Mass., Casey, D-Penn., Cardin, D-Md., Duckworth, D-Ill., Leahy, D-Vt., Hassan, D-N.H., Markey, D-Mass., Brown, D-Ohio, Durbin, D-Ill., Tester, D-Mont., Schumer, D-N.Y., King, I-Maine, Hirono, D-Hawaii, Van Hollen, D-Md., Whitehouse, D-R.I., Stabenow, D-Mich., Kaine, D-Va., Padilla, D-Calif., Sanders, I-Vt., Coons, D-Del., Rosen, D-Nev., Carper, D-Del., Reed, D-R.I., Feinstein, D-Calif., Kelly, D-Ariz., Warnock, D-Ga., Peters, D-Mich., Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ossoff, D-Ga., and Warner, D-Va.

The full letter can be found HERE.