Pennsylvania Opposes Proposed Gag Rule Limiting Access to Family Planning Services

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Pennsylvania State Capitol

The State of Pennsylvania is opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed gag rule limiting access to comprehensive family planning services.

On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf and State Attorney General Josh Shapiro submitted legal comments objecting to the gag rule.

On June 1, the HHS released its proposed rule — Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements. Under this rule, the department proposed amending Title X regulations of the Public Health Service Act. Its objective is to ensure that funds allocated for Title X will not be used for programs where abortion is a method of family planning.

One of HHS’ proposals is to eliminate the requirement that Title X projects provide abortion referrals and counseling.

Proposed Role Will Reduce Women’s Access to Critical Health Services

In the legal comments, Wolf and Shapiro argued that the HHS’ proposed rule denies Pennsylvanians comprehensive health care. They said the proposed rule risks access to affordable family planning services for vulnerable populations and will create significant, burdensome financial impact on the state.

“Let me be clear, there is no role for government to step between a woman and her doctor,” Wolf said in a statement. “President Trump’s plan to implement a Title X gag rule will cut women off from critical healthcare services like birth control and preventive care, including cancer screenings, and will censor doctors and strip federal funding from certain healthcare providers for discussing legal healthcare procedures with their patients.”

Shapiro added, “Denying women basic information about their reproductive choices violates a right central to their fundamental dignity and well-being. No matter how the administration chooses to characterize the proposal, it is a gag rule — plain and simple.

“I’m fighting for the rights of every Pennsylvanian to access well-grounded medical care.”

Doug Toner

Ie. Abortion