For 25 years, Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) members in medical schools around the country and the world have fought for the education they will need to provide a full range of family planning care for their future patients. For most of our members, learning about all forms of contraception and abortion is hard, and in some places, impossible…despite the fact that most of their future patients will rely on family planning throughout their childbearing years.
In May, the Trump administration proposed a new rule for family planning clinics receiving federal funds appropriated by Congress to care for low income people. This rule would overturn more than 40 years of requiring that the care provided in these clinics provide patients with information on all their options when facing an unintended pregnancy. This new rule is commonly called “the domestic gag rule.” If the “gag rule” goes into effect, health care workers in clinics funded by the federal family planning program will be prohibited from talking with patients about abortion, may not provide information to patients about where to go for an abortion, and may not provide abortion services to those patients even if it is in a separate clinic with separate funding.
MSFC has worked for 25 years to incorporate the full range of family planning care – including abortion – into medical education and training. Through this work, we are gradually eliminating the stigma against abortion that exists within medicine. We believe that no one should have to face additional barriers when seeking this common, safe, and simple medical procedure. The Trump administration’s “gag rule” formalizes abortion stigma, makes abortion less safe by creating barriers to access, and harms the health and well-being of those in our communities who need our support most.
We all know that the true target of these new rules is Planned Parenthood. Despite the fact that Planned Parenthood has played an essential role in providing access to critical family planning care in over 900 communities throughout the US for over 100 years, the organization has become a focal point of anger on the part of Republicans who oppose all that Planned Parenthood stands for – equity, access, and respect for all those in need of family planning. By attacking one organization through this rule, the Trump administration will hurt all families in need and ensure a lower standard of health care for those who rely on federal funding to support their access to family planning care.
MSFC is dedicated to ensuring that medical professionals have the education they need to provide the very best family planning care available in our country – to anyone in need of that care. The “gag rule” will make that impossible. Please stand with us and post your comments in opposition to these rules at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=HHS-OS-2018-0008-0001.