Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Monday that the state would be challenging the Trump administration’s new “gag rule” would cut Title X federal funding for any health facility that gives abortion referrals.
Title X is a grant worth about $286 million dollars annually, which provides federal funding for testing of sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, screening for diabetes, and cancer screenings for 4 million low-income people.
Ferguson addressed the new policy in a press conference, “challenging this transparent attack on Planned Parenthood and assault on Washington women.”
“Once again and we’ve been here before, President Trump is violating the law. This time he is inserting his politics between a woman and her health care provider. President Trump’s Title X rule is unacceptable and unlawful,” he continued.
At the press conference held in Washington state, Ferguson had men and women on the stage standing with him in solidarity with women who would be affected by this rule.
Dr. Erin Berry, who spoke at the press conference, pleaded “the Trump-Pence gag rule needs to be challenged because it blocks doctors like me to be able to refer my patients for safe, legal abortion. As a doctor, I cannot imagine withholding information from my patients. It’s unethical and it flies in the face of the oath I took to take care, for my patients.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also backs the state’s opposition on the “gag rule,” claiming it’s “a blatant attack on women’s reproductive rights.”
Today's Title X news is a blatant attack on women's reproductive rights. In WA, I will never let President Trump take away the right to safe and legal abortion and reproductive care. https://t.co/zYmQbkkA0I
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) February 22, 2019
In his press release, Attorney General Ferguson said, “The ‘gag rule’ will force out of the program professionals who provide nearly 90 percent of Title X family planning services to Washington patients, keeping thousands of vulnerable Washingtonians from reasonably accessing contraception, cancer, and STI screening and other family planning care.”
Ferguson also laid out how the rule would negatively affect his state if implemented, stating “rural communities currently have a shortage of health care providers, this rule will make the shortage even more acute and leave Washingtonians in twenty-one counties without access to a Title X doctor.”
The “gag rule” has received criticism from many lawmakers and health professionals alike, and has even received backlash from the American Medical Association, which claims “the rule interferes and imposes restrictions on the patient-physician relationship” and that it is a “clear violation of patients’ rights in the Code of Medical Ethics.”