May 31, 2018

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14 Governors to Trump Administration: States Will Fight Back Against Domestic Gag Rule

Letter to HHS Secretary: ‘If the Federal Government Breaks Its Commitment to States in the Title X Program, We Will React in Kind’

Governors Urge Trump Administration to Reconsider; Will Explore All Possibilities – Including Legal Options – to Protect Women’s Health Care

In a letter today, 14 Democratic governors urged the Trump administration to halt its sweeping changes to the Title X program that undermine women’s health and upend a 40-year partnership between states and the federal government to ensure reproductive health services for all Americans.

The governors wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar strongly opposing the proposed rule, which not only takes away access to reproductive health providers like Planned Parenthood, but severely restricts the information Title X doctors can share with patients about their care. The governors indicated they would explore all options – including legal avenues – to protect constituents’ access to health care.

“If the federal government breaks its commitment to states in the Title X program, we will react in kind and do what is necessary to protect the health of our constituents,” the 14 governors wrote. “If this reckless policy is finalized as written, we will have no choice but to explore all possible avenues, including legal options, to block it from harming the women in our states.”

The letter was signed by the following governors: Democratic Governors Association Chair Gov. Jay Inslee (WA); DGA Vice Chair Gov. Gina Raimondo (RI); DGA Policy Chair Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY); Gov. Mark Dayton (MN); Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO); Gov. Dan Malloy (CT); Gov. Steve Bullock (MT); Gov. David Ige (HI); Gov. Tom Wolf (PA); Gov. Kate Brown (OR); Gov. John Carney (DE); Gov. Roy Cooper (NC); Gov. Phil Murphy (NJ); and, Gov. Ralph Northam (VA).

“Governors will not stand idly by as President Trump launches a dangerous and unconscionable assault on women’s health care in our states,” said DGA Chair Gov. Jay Inslee. “We are prepared to act swiftly and forcefully to block this reckless rule from denying women the family planning and healthcare services they need. Washington will continue to be a state that stands with women and their right to safe and legal reproductive care, and I am committed to working with our Attorney General and legislative leaders on all possible options to ensure women and families in Washington are protected.”

“While the federal government has launched an assault on women’s rights, New York has led the way forward  by ensuring all women have access to quality reproductive care and the freedom to make their own decisions about their health,” said DGA Policy Chair Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Working together, we will continue to protect New Yorkers from the Trump Administration’s dangerous attempts to strip away Title X funding and roll back critical access to the health services that millions of women rely on every day. We are aggressively exploring all legal options to combat this disastrous policy and ensure a women’s fundamental right to choose is protected no matter what.”

The full letter can be viewed HERE and seen below.

Dear Secretary Azar:

As governors representing 90 million Americans, we are deeply concerned with this Administration’s plan to undermine women’s health and place sweeping new restrictions on reproductive healthcare providers across our country. For more than 40 years, Title X has been an important partnership between the federal government and states that has been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. This dangerous proposal would upend decades of bipartisan cooperation, taking away women’s healthcare through trusted medical providers like Planned Parenthood and eroding their access to comprehensive, medically accurate information. We strongly urge you to reconsider this plan, which is nothing more than a domestic “gag rule” that poses serious risks to women’s health.

We stand with women and men in our states by rejecting this Administration’s efforts to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, gut women’s access to family planning services, and force medical professionals to knowingly withhold information from their patients. If the federal government breaks its commitment to states in the Title X program, we will react in kind and do what is necessary to protect the health of our constituents. We call on all Americans to actively and aggressively oppose this proposed action. And if this reckless policy is finalized as written, we will have no choice but to explore all possible avenues, including legal options, to block it from harming the women in our states. Our voices will be heard on this damaging proposal, and we are prepared to match our words with action. 

We strongly urge you not to undermine the important work that Governors and administrations of both parties have done for decades to support women and families through Title X. We will continue to consult with our states’ Attorneys General, state legislatures, and state health agencies to stop this rule from harming the millions of women we are sworn to protect.

Sincerely,

Democratic Governors Association Chair Gov. Jay Inslee (WA)
DGA Vice Chair Gov. Gina Raimondo (RI)
DGA Policy Chair Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY)
Gov. Mark Dayton (MN)
Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO)
Gov. Dan Malloy (CT)
Gov. Steve Bullock (MT)
Gov. David Ige (HI)
Gov. Tom Wolf (PA)
Gov. Kate Brown (OR)
Gov. John Carney (DE)
Gov. Roy Cooper (NC)
Gov. Phil Murphy (NJ)
Gov. Ralph Northam (VA)