Freedom of Misinformation Act

I read with great interest your issue on Humanae Vitae, the Vatican ban on birth control, and how it has shaped domestic debates about reproductive rights.

For nearly 50 years, Title X—the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning—has provided high-quality contraceptive care and counseling to millions of women and men. Our providers and administrators—from state health departments and hospitals to Planned Parenthood affiliates and federally qualified health centers—ensure that affordable, accessible and confidential contraceptive and reproductive healthcare is available for all who need it. This includes access to a full range of contraceptive methods, breast and cervical cancer screenings and STD testing and treatment.

Unfortunately, the program’s core mission has been under attack recently. As part of its ideologically driven agenda, the Trump administration is distorting the notion of religious freedom to undermine the expertise of healthcare providers across the country and erode access to high-quality family planning care for all.

Earlier this year, the administration proposed new rules for the administration of Title X that puts religious objections before the health needs of a patient. This maneuver could cause unprecedented patient harm and put many family planning providers in an impossible situation. We’re also currently facing onerous provider restrictions and requirements that threaten to censor providers and deny patients the comprehensive family planning care they need. Instead of protecting the dignity and health of millions of low-income people, our nation’s leaders would rather support a one-size-fits-all model for family planning care that allows healthcare providers to withhold counseling and referral for abortion care.

These and other efforts underway could have a devastating impact across the entire family planning network—among all providers and their nearly four million patients.

Reducing the unintended pregnancy rate should be a shared national public health goal. And thanks in part to the family planning program under Title X, we are making important progress towards improving sexual health outcomes nationwide. But we risk reversing these trends if the administration’s dangerous healthcare agenda is realized in communities across the country.

CLARE COLEMAN
President & CEO, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
Washington, DC

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