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Health Care Providers Gear Up (Again) As Trump's New Gag Rule Targets Planned Parenthood

Previous attempts to defund Planned Parenthood have sparked protests nationwide. (Fibonacci Blue (CC by 2.0)/Flickr)
Previous attempts to defund Planned Parenthood have sparked protests nationwide. (Fibonacci Blue (CC by 2.0)/Flickr)
May 21, 2018

WICASSET, Maine – If President Donald Trump's new effort succeeds to impose a so-called gag rule on family planning centers, access to women's health care centers across New England would be drastically reduced.

On Friday, the Trump administration started the rule-making process to bar family planning centers that receive federal funds from providing abortion information, referrals or even being in the same location.

Critics contend the administration is looking to energize the religious right and social conservatives in advance of the midterm elections.

Nicole Clegg, vice president of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, says activists are gearing up for a fight.

"Let's be clear this is an attempt to take away women's basic rights, period, and we will do everything we can to protect the rights of our patients to get the care that they deserve," she states.

At stake is $260 million in Title X funding for reproductive health care providers and centers like Planned Parenthood. The grant was designed to provide access for people who are underinsured, with low incomes or who live in rural areas.

Health care centers throughout the region depend on this funding to offer care.

States have passed more than 400 abortion and contraception restrictions since 2011, despite
many polls indicating a majority of Americans want to keep abortion legal and accessible.

Just last year the Trump administration's effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood was defeated.

According to Clegg, it was the medical community that effectively pushed back.

"The heart of this gets at the trust that a practitioner can establish with his patient, so if a practitioner is prohibited from sharing medical information, that dramatically impacts how care can be delivered," she points out.

Meanwhile, states across New England, including Maine and Massachusetts, have taken steps to expand access to family planning.

Linda Barr, Public News Service - ME