DOMESTIC GAG RULE REDUCES CONTRACEPTIVE ACCESS FOR OVER 165,000 WOMEN LIVING IN UTAH
(Washington, D.C.)—According to data released by Power to Decide, an estimated 165,740 Utah women of reproductive age (13-44) in need of publicly funded contraception live in counties impacted by the implementation of the Title X Family Planning Program “domestic gag rule.” In fact, 24% of Utah’s 29 counties lost all of their Title X resources, as there are no longer any Title X funds going to Utah.
The domestic gag rule requires health providers receiving Title X funds to withhold some information from patients about abortion services and care. In addition, health centers are required to cease providing abortion care with non-Title X funds at sites that offer Title X supported services, such as contraceptive care, breast and cervical cancer screening and STI testing. The new rule requires that abortion services, no matter how they are funded, must be performed at a separate physical site, which is impossible for many health centers. In the face of these challenges, family planning providers are doing their best to provide high-quality service to their patients and fill gaps left in the wake of the disruption caused by the rule.
“The implementation of the domestic gag rule could impact over 165,000 women in need in Utah,” said Gillian Sealy, Interim CEO, Power to Decide. “This federal rule exacerbates an already challenging contraceptive access landscape for women struggling to make ends meet. Even before the implementation of the domestic gag rule, over 200,000 low income women in Utah live in contraceptive deserts where they face barriers such as transportation, child care and taking unpaid time from work to get the contraception they need.”
Data from Power to Decide show that 203,600 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in Utah live in contraceptive deserts, counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods. Nationally, more than 19 million U.S. women of low income live in contraceptive deserts.
In this challenging landscape, states like Utah can take steps to partially alleviate the impact of damaging federal policies and to proactively expand access to contraception in various ways. Utah has already expanded Medicaid to low income adults, which helps decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, give them contraceptive coverage. In addition, Utah allows pharmacists to prescribe contraception. Other policies that would help include requiring insurance to cover an extended supply of prescription contraceptives, and enacting policies that protect insurance coverage of the full range of contraceptive methods. More information about these policies can be found here.
Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.