Letter to the Editor

Rule change on Title X funds

Friday, June 22, 2018

The proposed rule change to the Title X family planning program -- also known as a "gag rule" -- is both offensive and hazardous to women's health.

East Missouri Action Agency (located in Cape Girardeau, Park Hills, and Fredericktown) has been a Title X provider for decades, and in 2017 served over 1,100 individuals. EMAA prides itself on providing high-quality, affordable family planning services, including birth control, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screenings.

If implemented, this proposed rule would make it impossible for health care providers to provide medically accurate information. As a nurse practitioner, I am appalled that this administration is seeking to undermine both medical ethics and reproductive rights.

Title X program serves 4 million patients each year, including nearly 40,000 in Missouri. It is a cost-effective program that has, until now, enjoyed bipartisan support.

Title X services often serve as the gateway into health care and, for some patients, Title X is their only source of medical care. Undermining this network would not only result in more unintended pregnancies, but also in poorer health outcomes in vulnerable communities across Missouri; teen pregnancy, unintended pregnancy, and STD rates will assuredly rise.

I'm urging the administration to rethink these proposed rules. We should be increasing funding for family planning services all across the country and making it easier for women, men, and adolescents to access the health care they need -- not hindering and restricting them.

Lucia Obergoenner, Cape Girardeau