DOMESTIC GAG RULE REDUCES CONTRACEPTIVE ACCESS FOR OVER ONE MILLION WOMEN LIVING IN NEW YORK
(Washington, D.C.) — According to data released by Power to Decide, an estimated 1,213,730 New York 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.” According to the same data, 90% of New York’s counties have lost some or all their Title X resources and a total of 165 clinics within those 56 counties have lost Title X funding.
The domestic gag rule prohibits health providers receiving Title X funds from providing comprehensive options counseling to patients, including providing information 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 rule requires that abortion services, no matter how they are funded, 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.
“Over one million women in need in New York state could be impacted by the implementation of the domestic gag rule,” said Raegan McDonald-Mosley, MD, MPH. “The federal rule is yet another obstacle for more than one million women with low incomes in New York who live in contraceptive deserts and face barriers such as transportation, child care and taking unpaid time off from work in order to access basic health care.”
Data from Power to Decide show that 1,211,270 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in New York state 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 New York can take proactive steps to partially alleviate the impact of damaging federal policies and to proactively expand access to contraception in various ways. New York has already expanded Medicaid to low-income adults, which helps decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, gives them the contraceptive coverage they need to live healthy lives. In addition, New York law requires insurance to cover an extended supply of prescription contraceptives and protects insurance coverage of contraceptives without cost-sharing. To further expand access, New York is currently considering legislation that would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraception. 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.