Senators Cantwell, Murray Slam Trump-Pence Administration’s Proposed Damaging Changes to Title X Family Planning Program, Call for Reversal

Trump-Pence Administration plans to restrict Title X family planning program through new domestic gag rule, undermining care for millions of families

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, and 43 of their colleagues submitted a comment to Secretary Alex Azar at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strongly opposing the Trump-Pence Administration’s proposal to implement a domestic gag rule on Title X, restricting patients’ access to the Title X family planning program and reducing health care access for millions of women. They called on the Administration to reverse course and revoke its planned changes. 

“As U.S. Senators, we are deeply concerned the Trump-Pence Administration’s proposed rule to update the Title X program includes a number of significant changes that run counter to Congress’s intent in establishing the program and, like so many other harmful steps this Administration is taking, will make it significantly harder for women across the country to get the health care they need. The proposed rule would allow politicians with extreme ideological views to interfere with women’s personal health care decisions, undermine the provider-patient relationship, and leave women’s access to health care increasingly dependent on how much money they have and where they live. The proposed rule would have devastating impacts on women across our country and we urge you to reverse course and revoke it,” wrote the senators. 

In their comment, the senators outlined the many ways the Trump-Pence Administration’s proposed domestic gag rule would undermine the Title X program’s ability to provide family care services to people across the country. The senators blasted proposed changes that would make providers that serve millions of women ineligible for funding and a new domestic gag rule that would interfere with providers’ ability to give patients information about their full range of reproductive care options. They also criticized changes that would undermine requirements that Title X-funded providers only offer services that are “medically approved.”

The proposed rule restricting women’s access to reproductive health care comes as President Trump attempts to appoint an extreme Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who anti-abortion groups vetted and approved as a fifth vote to turn the Supreme Court against women’s constitutional rights by striking down Roe v. Wade. According to a recent analysis, 80,000 women in Washington state could be affected by President Trump’s proposed domestic gag rule, and on Monday, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he would pull Washington state from the federal Title X program if the proposed rule goes into effect. Previously, both Senators Murray and Cantwell have been vocal in their opposition to the Trump-Pence domestic gag rule and its potential impact on women in Washington state and nationwide.

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

PDF of comment is available HERE.