Time to Fight for Rights

Each pregnancy is as unique as the woman who becomes pregnant. Pregnancy can be a joyous occurrence or a crisis depending on the life of the individual. However, decisions about the direction the woman chooses to go are ultimately hers. As in any other healthcare choice, a person is given a range of options to weigh and consider. A decision this important is between a woman, her doctor, and her conscience. All options should be presented-including abortion.

As of August 2019, Planned Parenthood’s funding from the Title X program has been cut off due to the implementation of the gag rule policy. The gag rule blocks reproductive health care providers from including abortion services as part of a wide range of choices for a woman’s reproductive health.  According to Planned Parenthood, over 4 million patients rely on Title X funding for reproductive health services ranging from contraceptives to abortions. This has resulted in eliminating the rights of over 1 million patients who need access the comprehensive family planning and related preventative health services offered by Planned Parenthood and funded by Title X.

Title X was established in 1970 and served the purpose of providing affordable birth control and reproductive health care to people with low incomes who couldn’t otherwise afford those health care services on their own. In June of 2019, in a room full of male politicians, President Trump signed an anti-abortion executive order reinstating the gag rule policy that would undermine family planning around the world. This marks the latest salvo to curtail women’s rights. In a press conference in early 2019, Sean Spicer responded to the policy reinstatement with this: “It’s no secret that the President made it very clear that he is a pro-life President. He wants to stand up for all Americans including the unborn. The reinstatement of this policy not only echoes that value but respects taxpayer funding as well.” Pro-choice advocates around the world have condemned the move with some calling it the beginning of the Trump administration’s agenda to punish women everywhere. This action will do more than change the way that Title X funding is used; it will make it difficult for millions of women visiting Planned Parenthood and other federally funded health clinics to access contraceptives for family planning.

In a recent Democratic debate, presidential candidate Kamala Harris was the first to address the topic of the issues around reproductive rights. Within the five initial democratic debates that were held, when the topic of discussion revolved around health care, not a word was said about the significant reproductive health care issue today. During the sixth debate, Harris began the conversation on reproductive rights, saying, “There are states that have passed laws that will virtually prevent women from having access to reproductive health care, and it is not an exaggeration to say that women will die.” She later added, “Poor women, innocent women, will die because of these Republican legislatures in these various states who are out of touch with America, telling women what to do with their bodies. Women are the majority of the population in this country. People need to keep their hands off of women’s bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives.”

The changes to Title X are disastrous and should not be ignored. Since the Trump administration released its dangerous and unethical gag rule, there has been a mass outcry from patients, medical providers, lawmakers, and concerned public health advocates. Four million people struggling to make ends meet are being harmed by the gag rule and it is not wrong to say that the gag rule is unpopular and widely opposed. It has become obvious that the President plans to strip rights from women and punish them solely because of his own moral beliefs. Trump’s actual religious and moral beliefs are questionable. Whether or not he holds his beliefs because a deep Christian faith is hard to believe based on his track record of immoral behavior and careless womanizing attitude. His desire to maintain the voting base of Christian evangelicals is of deep concern to him.  No one religious belief should be tied to the health care services of a country who prizes the separation of church and state as much as America does. We are a country built on personal freedom and access to information. The gag order undermines the capability of healthcare providers to inform patients and the women of America to allow

choices that work best for their very unique and individual lives. It’s time to stand against these barbaric rules and fight for human rights.