Presidential Memorandum on Title X Falls Short
Amy Moy / 415.518.4465
Statement by Essential Access Health President + CEO Julie Rabinovitz
on Presidential Memorandum calling on HHS to immediately consider and rescind
Trump-era regulations for the federal family planning program
“Although the Presidential Memorandum released today by the White House is a first step in undoing the Trump era’s harmful and unlawful regulations for the Title X federal family planning program, we are urging the Biden-Harris administration to reverse the regulations currently in effect without delay. We are specifically calling for implementation of the regulations to be halted and for HHS to issue a new rule within 30 days. Doing so would be consistent with President Biden’s stated priorities on the campaign trail related to COVID-19, health access and equity.
“The President’s order to HHS is a signal that the administration is committed to righting the wrongs of the Trump administration, but without any meaningful policy changes, it unfortunately falls short. Title X patients across the country need real relief from the regulations currently in place that restrict abortion referrals and delay access to essential health care. Every day the regulations remain in place, the federal government is dictating a lower standard of care for low-income patients – disproportionately impacting rural regions and communities of color.
“Reversal of Trump’s regulations cannot come soon enough for the millions of low-income patients that rely on Title X for time-sensitive health services like birth control and STD testing and treatment. The current public health emergency and related economic crisis have made the need to rebuild and strengthen our family planning safety-net more urgent than ever before.
“The Trump era regulations are the most extreme rules implemented since Title X was established with strong bi-partisan support and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970. The regulations represent a dramatic departure from the way Congress intended for health centers and other providers to participate in the program. The regulations interfere with the patient-provider relationship and deny the millions of individuals that rely on Title X complete and unbiased information about their pregnancy options.
“The consequences have been devastating to the Title X system nationwide. Roughly one in every four Title X providers has withdrawn from the program since the new regulations were implemented, jeopardizing access to time sensitive care for 1.6 million patients nationwide. A recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report estimates that the number of annual Title X patients served in 2019 fell by 21%.
“Before the Trump regulations took effect, California’s statewide Title X provider network included 63 health centers collectively operating 366 service sites in 38 California counties. After the regulations were fully implemented, providers across the state were forced to make the difficult decision to exit the program and leave behind critical resources. As a result, the state’s Title X provider network was drastically reduced to 238 clinic sites in 20 counties.
“We look forward to working with the new administration to ensure that Title X patients can once again get the health care they want, when they need it, and restore the program’s mandate to provide comprehensive family planning services for all.”
Essential Access Health is the leader of the statewide Title X program in California – the largest Title X system in the nation.
www.essentialaccess.org / @EssnAccessHlth