Contact: Alexa Barrett, Communications Assistant
Email: alexa@equityfwd.org
Phone: (914) 602 - 3147

HHS Manufactures Title X Chaos

Ideologically-driven, unnecessary policy changes lead to confusion, hinder programs 

New York, NY – Last week, in two divergent announcements regarding plans to enforce dangerous changes to the Title X program, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) needlessly created uncertainty and confusion around the nation’s family planning program.

Early last week, HHS announced its intention to immediately enforce its Title X gag rule, which prevents physicians from referring patients for abortions. Widespread confusion from health care providers followed as they were unsure what form this enforcement would take and exactly when they would be expected to comply with the new regulations.

But a mere five days later, HHS reportedly backtracked, claiming that providers will have another month before the agency starts enforcing the gag rule. In that time, family planning clinics announced plans to drop out of the Title X program.  

In practice, the mixed signals HHS is sending those working hard to provide services to millions of women and families nationwide are a clear effort to generate uncertainty and confusion regarding the agency's enforcement of changes to the crucial health care program in order to hinder its effectiveness.

“The complete lack of transparency about when and how HHS plans to enforce its harmful Title X gag rule is meant to hinder clinics’ ability to operate and encourage health care providers to drop out of the grant program,” Michelle Kuppersmith, director of Equity Forward, said. “Secretary Azar is either incompetent or deliberately trying to sow confusion around the programs he oversees. Regardless of what’s going on, the American people deserve answers.” 

For more information on HHS’ ongoing campaign to undermine the Title X program, read our full report.


Equity Forward is a watchdog organization that works to ensure transparency and accountability among anti-reproductive health groups and individuals.