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Senators need to strike down Title X gag rule on reproductive choice

It feels like an important time to talk about health care, specifically about basic, preventive health care, access to which is a human right. We’re facing a moment during which our access to care is not only not guaranteed, it is being actively threatened by the very individuals who have been tasked with serving their constituents.

The Trump administration has been playing political games with health care access for some time now, but its Title X “gag” rule has proven to be a particularly insidious tactic. With this rule, the Trump administration has forced health care providers to make an impossible choice: If they either provide their patients with full, accurate medical information about their pregnancy options, they risk losing critical Title X funding that allows them to provide health care to those communities already facing systemic barriers to access.

The truth is, there isn’t really a choice here, and that’s exactly the point. The Trump administration has a clear agenda for health care, particularly for the kinds of family planning care that Title X dollars are meant to support. It’s no coincidence that Planned Parenthood, a major provider of sexual and reproductive health care, was forced out of the program because of this rule. Now, it’s time to ask our elected leaders to go back to the basics and do their jobs, protecting the rights of their constituents.

If we can all agree that health care is a human right – and this, quite frankly, should be a universally accepted truth – then it’s time to turn to Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, who have consistently stood with the women and families of New Mexico when it comes to issues of health care and reproductive rights. Our senators, and those from states across the country, have an opportunity to block the “gag” rule and protect Title X funding through legislative action in the near future. We can call their offices, write them letters and let them know we’re closely watching their actions.

If senators across this country respect the basic premise of democracy, if they accept that their constituents’ access to health care is their responsibility, and if they understand their role in this critical moment, they’ll do the right thing. If not, they’ll be hearing from voters in 2020.

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