AMSA opposes proposed “gag rule” restricting access to abortion services

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Pete Thomson
Chief Communications Officer
American Medical Student Association
Email:pr@amsa.org
Phone: 703-665-4786

 

AMSA opposes proposed “gag rule” restricting access to abortion services

Sterling, Va., June 5, 2018The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) firmly opposes the new “gag rule” put forth by the Trump administration that would restrict health centers funded by Title X in their ability to refer patients to abortion providers.

AMSA has long asserted that women, regardless of age, social status, or marital status, have should all have the right to obtain a legal, safe, voluntary abortion¹; and we oppose any restrictions on the availability of funds for family planning clinics that offer or provide counseling or referral for abortion services². These proposals by the Trump administration, to pull Title X funding from healthcare centres that provide and counsel for abortion, could have disastrous consequences for many women and families. Reproductive health clinics like Planned Parenthood would lose funding, thus severely limiting access for both men and women to not just abortions but also testing for STIs (sexually transmitted infections), mammogram screenings, contraceptives, medications, and more. Six in ten women who receive services at a publicly funded family-planning center consider it their primary source of medical care³; and if Planned Parenthood were defunded, other community health centers would not be able to fill this gap in care.

Furthermore, the persons affected worst by this would be those of low socioeconomic status, since 64% of the Title X-funded women have family incomes under the Federal Poverty Line. Without access, women would not have the ability to make their own decision and would thus be forced to possibly make life-changing sacrifices regarding their health, finances, career, and life. Such women without access to safe abortion services may be forced to choose dangerous methods that would put their lives at risk. Such women without access to STI testing or contraceptives would not be able to protect their or others’ sexual health, and they would not be able to make full choices around family planning. AMSA strongly condemns any policy that worsens health disparities, endangers the population to STI epidemics, and reduces availability of women’s health resources and procedures.

This proposed action by the Trump administration is the latest in a long line of attacks on access to abortion/healthcare services and on reproductive freedoms. While the rule has not been put into place yet, comments are being accepted here. Period for comments closes on July 31, 2018. AMSA will be adding its voice to other professional groups opposing this rule, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Nurse-Midwives, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

 

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About the American Medical Student Association:

AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing physicians-in-training, advocating for quality and affordable healthcare for all, and building the next generation of physician leaders. To join our community, visit amsa.org.

¹AMSA Preamble, Purposes, and Principles (PPP), Principles Regarding Reproductive Rights, Family Planning and Sex Education, pg. 49; 4(a), 2017
²AMSA PPP, Principles Regarding Reproductive Rights, Family Planning and Sex Education, pg. 49; 4(b), 2017
³Rachel Benson Gold et al., Next Steps for America’s Family Planning Program: Leveraging the Potential of Medicaid and Title X in an Evolving Health Care System, at 4 (2009)
⁴Hasstedt, K. “Federally Qualified Health Centers: Vital Sources of Care, No Substitute for the Family Planning Safety Net.“ Guttmacher Policy Review, Vol 20, 2017.
⁵Title X Family Planning Annual Report 2016 Summary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
⁶AMSA PPP, Principles Regarding Health Disparities, pg. 146
⁷AMSA PPP, Principles Regarding Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) And HIV-Related Illnesses, pg. 105
⁸AMSA PPP, Principles Regarding Reproductive Rights, Family Planning and Sex Education, pg. 49; 3(c), 4(c). pg. 52; 7(b).

Contributors: Perry Tsai, MD/PhD, AMSA National President; Pranali Haribhakti, AMSA’s National Gender & Sexuality Women’s Advocacy Coordinator