RCRC Statement on Title X Rule Change

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March 6, 2019


Mollie Katz




The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week published a new rule in the Federal Register governing Title X funding of family planning clinics. The revisions are to go into effect in 60 days unless they are pre-empted by federal lawsuits filed by 20 states, by California officials and by the American Medical Association and Planned Parenthood.

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) issued the following statement in response:

RCRC deplores the harmful changes in Title X funding of family planning clinics.

We strenuously object to the way this new rule creates funding opportunities for deceptive crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) while creating barriers to adequate care. It encourages CPCs — anti-abortion clinics based on conservative faith beliefs — to apply for Title X funding. At the same time, it hinders Title X participation for clinics that provide comprehensive, medically accurate information about abortion care, including referrals. The rule amounts to a gag order that violates medical ethics and compromises care.

Acting only on conservative Christian beliefs, CPCs use inaccurate and confusing information to coerce women to carry their pregnancies to term. Their practices are unethical. What’s more, they impose one restrictive religious viewpoint in our pluralistic society where freedom of religion is guaranteed.

RCRC has for decades actively supported the right of every pregnant person to make decisions about pregnancy according to their own conscience. Christian and Jewish clergy have worked with our forerunner, the Clergy Consultation Service, which, before Roe v. Wade, offered pregnant women pastoral care and defied state abortion bans to assure women had access to safe abortions if they wished.

The new Title X rule will damage reproductive health care in many other ways as well, affecting access to essential services such as STI testing, breast cancer screening and Pap smears. It will reduce available services to the low-income and younger women who rely on Title X for their reproductive health care. Many clinics will be forced to close if they cannot meet extraneous financial and physical requirements or if they refuse to abide by this unethical gag order.

This rule change in Title X contradicts RCRC’s beliefs and values that a just society makes health care available to all equally and respects individuals’ dignity. We uphold each person’s right to make choices about their reproductive lives according to their own religious and moral beliefs – no one else’s.

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