February 15, 2019 Press Release

Equity Forward Issues New Report Detailing Sabotage of Our Nation’s Family Planning Program

Report comes in advance of announcement of new Title X grantees, domestic gag rule

02.15.19 – In response to news that 2019 Title X grantees will be announced imminently, Equity Forward is releasing a new report that highlights the numerous ways the Trump administration has been sabotaging our nation's family planning program. The report is also being released in anticipation of the final domestic gag rule, which could prohibit certain health care providers from referring patients to  safe and legal abortion services.  

The report details how Trump's health department — under the direction of anti-abortion advocates like Valerie Huber, Diane Foley, and Steven Valentine — has been engaged in full-fledged sabotage of Title X, specifically working to redirect funds away from legitimate providers including Planned Parenthoods to anti-abortion centers, also known as “crisis pregnancy centers” or CPCs. CPCs do not offer a full range of reproductive health care options; in fact, many have been found to lie to and misinform women about their reproductive health care options.

"In one of his first acts as President, Donald Trump reinstated the global gag rule that harms reproductive health care access overseas,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.  

“Since that day, his administration been working tirelessly to inflict the same restrictions and pain on people here in the U.S. using regulations and rules to rob people of their rights.

“While we remain in the dark about the fate of the Title X program given the hidden and opaque process, what we do know is that Trump’s health department is stacked from Secretary Azar on down with appointees who don't support birth control access. We are deeply concerned about what the future will hold for the 4 million low-income people who rely on this vital health care program each year."

Additional details of how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working to undermine Title X include the following:

  • The process that had been in place for 30 years to award grants was changed to give a political appointee final say on who receives the grant funds. Previously, it was a joint decision between career officials, the head of the program and the regional health administrators who have the most direct interactions with grantees;

  • HHS is now, for the first time, giving points to potential grantees if they provide the “rhythm method,” while lessening the importance of hormonal birth control and the potential grantee’s ability to provide it when evaluating grant applications;

  • HHS wanted to help new potential Title X grantees — Valerie Huber called them “innovative,” but we wonder if she just means anti-abortion — by releasing successful 2018 Title X grant applications against the will of the applicants;

  • HHS proposed a rule, commonly called the domestic "gag rule," that would prohibit Title X providers from even mentioning abortion.

About Equity Forward

Equity Forward is a watchdog project that seeks to ensure transparency and accountability among anti-reproductive health groups and individuals. In addition to running HHSWatch.org, an extensive website with a library of research on nearly 50 political appointees at our nation's health department who are hostile to reproductive health care, Equity Forward also runs PutPeopleBeforePolitics.org, which calls on Secretary Azar not to cut nearly $100 million in lifesaving research at the behest of the anti-abortion lobby.