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Planned Parenthood, American Medical Association sue over reproductive gag rule
2019-03-06

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Washington, DC — Today, Planned Parenthood joined the American Medical Association in suing the Trump administration to block its gag rule. The gag rule makes it illegal to refer patients for abortion and threatens the health care of 4 million people in Title X, the nation's only program dedicated to affordable birth control and reproductive health care. It also includes provisions designed to specifically block care at Planned Parenthood, even though Planned Parenthood serves approximately 40 percent of Title X patients. When people can't see their provider of choice or cannot access a Title X provider at all, they delay or simply go without care.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

"The Trump-Pence administration's gag rule is unethical, illegal, and harmful to public health, which is why Planned Parenthood is joining together with the American Medical Association to sue to protect patients' rights and access to health care. Four million people receive care through Title X, our nation's dedicated program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, and for many of our patients, we are their only source of care for cancer screenings, birth control, and crucial preventive care. Title X serves women and families with low incomes, the majority of whom are people of color, Hispanic, or Latino, and the gag rule will worsen existing racial, socioeconomic, and geographical health disparities. Families that are struggling to make ends meet and people who live in rural areas must have the same access to full, unbiased information from their doctor as everyone else. Planned Parenthood will never force our doctors and nurses to withhold medical information from our patients, and we will fight the Trump administration in the courts to protect everyone's fundamental right to health care."

The case, which was filed in United State District Court in Eugene, Oregon, was brought by the American Medical Association, Oregon Medical Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, Thomas N. Ewing, M.D and Michele P. Megregian, C.N.M. Planned Parenthood is being represented by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the law firms of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. It seeks to protect the Title X program and guarantee that people receive full, unbiased information about their health care options - a right that has been repeatedly affirmed by Congress.

Since 1996, Congress has mandated, annually, that patients receiving information about their pregnancies through Title X must receive "nondirective" counseling.And in 2010, Congress went even further, mandating that HHS cannot impose rules, precisely like the gag rule, that create unreasonable barriers to care, that interfere with doctors giving their patients a full range of options, that restricts the ability of health care providers to disclose all relevant information to patients making health care decisions, or that violates the ethical standards of health care professionals. The gag rule blatantly violates Congress' mandate by forcing doctors to withhold information from their patients and imposing unreasonable barriers to care.

Statement from Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., President, AMA:

"Because of the administration's overreach and interference in health care decision making, physicians will be prohibited from having open, frank conversations with their patients about all their healthcare options. This blatant violation of patients' rights under the Code of Medical Ethics is untenable. The new rule imposes a government gag rule on what information physicians can provide to their patients. The administration wants to block physicians from providing full information about all of their health care options and from providing appropriate referrals for care."

The medical community, public health experts, and the general public are against this rule. In addition to the AMA, the gag rule has been opposed by major medical associations, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, as well as 110 public health organizations, and public health experts such as former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, and many others. A group of 19 different medical organizations, mayors, state lawmakers, over 200 Members of Congress, newly elected Democratic governors, and several other governors have opposed this legislation as well.

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Statement from Lisa Gardner, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon:

"This dangerous policy is an attempt to take away women's basic rights, period. Planned Parenthood is part of the fabric of our state, and the Trump-Pence rule will be devastating for Title X patients who rely on our health centers for basic health care. Every person deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money they make or where they live."

Statement from Anne Udall, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette:

"As a trusted healthcare provider, Planned Parenthood will always put the interests of patients first and will continue to fight for everyone's ability to get affordable, quality care." Health care is a human right, and we will not let this stand. The Trump-Pence administration may not think all Oregonians deserve care, but we do."

More background and information on the gag rule and the litigation can be found at www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/82/8a/828ae60a-7bfb-4ab8-95b5-a707048451bf/gag_rule_lawsuit_backgrounder.pdf .

—From a Planned Parenthood press release

Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


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