Three Democratic governors from Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii promised Monday that they will not accept any Title X family planning funds if the Trump administration goes ahead with their plan to block the family planning funds from organizations that perform or refer for abortions.
ModernHealthcare reports that, for these states, this “could mean a loss of nearly $10 million each year in grants to family planning clinics should HHS finalize its proposed Title X rule without changes.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee inaccurately characterized the proposed policy as a “gag rule” in announcing his decision.
"If the Trump gag rule is finalized as written, and cannot be blocked in court, we would be left with no choice but to refuse to participate in an unethical Title X program," he said after touring a Planned Parenthood clinic in Spokane. "We will continue to work closely with our attorney general, the state Legislature and state health agencies to stop this rule from harming millions of women who, like everyone, have a right to receive basic healthcare without interference."
Although Democrats and abortion advocates continue to characterize the change as a “gag rule,” abortion counseling is still permitted under the rule even though abortion referrals would be prohibited.
The White House emphasized this in a statement at the time, saying, “contrary to recent media reports, HHS’s proposal does not include the so-called ‘gag rule’ on counseling about abortion that was part of the Reagan Administration’s Title X rule.”
In her tweet threatening to refuse federal family planning funds, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also called the policy a “gag rule.”
And withdraw our state’s participation from an unethical, ineffective Title X program that reduces access to essential preventive health services. https://t.co/qNlaNn3bpO— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 30, 2018
Hawaii Gov. David Ige also characterized the policy that way in his statement.
“I am proud to join my fellow governors, Hawai‘i residents, and millions of Americans in opposing the proposed gag rule on Title X,” he said. “This is not an issue about life or choices. This is an issue about the rights of millions of individuals who deserve the best health care available. Legally and ethically, patients have the right to learn about all their medical options and determine for themselves which option is best. The gag rule undermines that right and puts women’s health in grave danger.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent a letter to federal health officials Monday threatening to sue the Trump administration over the policy change.
The comment period for the rule ended Tuesday.