Infectious Disease

HHS is trying to reverse the gag rule on Title X.

April 14, 2021

1 min read

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HHS proposed reversing a 2019 rule prohibiting certain discussions between doctors and patients about family planning services.

The so-called Title X-Gag rule prohibits health care providers from referring women for abortion as a family planning method and denies federal funding for programs and facilities that do not meet the rule. It had come under fire and had legal challenges from the AMA, ACP and others for a number of reasons, including the restrictive nature of the rule and conflict with the policies of some societies. On its website, HHS appeared to agree with the societies’ views, saying the rule “undermines the public health of the population that the program is designed to serve”.

HHS said it would accept public comments on its proposal to remove a rule restricting talks about abortion between doctors and patients. Photo source: Adobe Stock

HHS also said it intends to make several changes that “strengthen the program and ensure access to equitable, affordable, customer-centric, and high-quality family planning services for all customers, especially low-income customers.” The changes, HHS said, are in line with the agency’s priority “promoting justice for all, including people of color and others historically underserved, marginalized and marred by persistent poverty and inequality”.

AMA said it “strongly applauds” the action by HHS.

The gag rule “has inappropriately affected the relationship between patient and doctor and compromised safe access to reproductive care,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MDsaid in a statement. “This move brings us one step closer to restoring access to essential care for the millions of low-income and uninsured patients who rely on Title X for family planning services.”

According to HHS, starting April 15 and for the next 30 days, the public will be able to weigh HHS’s proposal on the federal registry’s website.

References:

AMA. AMA welcomes that the Biden administration is trying to reverse the “gag rule” of Title X. https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/ama-statements/ama-applauds-biden-administration-move-reverse-title-x-gag-rule. Accessed April 14, 2021.

HHS. Fact Sheet: Announcing the proposed rulemaking that will ensure access to fair, affordable, customer-centric, high quality family planning services. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/04/14/fact-sheet-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-ensuring-access-to-equitable-affordable-client-centered.html. Accessed April 14, 2021.

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Reproductive and Maternal Health Resource Center

Reproductive and Maternal Health Resource Center

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