This is a Letter to the Editor. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit a letter, email Managing Editor Kelsey O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is confirmed, he will possibly hold the fate of Roe v. Wade in his hands. This is a weighty prospect for someone like me, who has never lived at a time when access to safe abortion wasn’t a given. And while Kavanaugh’s nomination is certainly troubling, let us not forget that his nomination is just one part of this administration’s multi-pronged attack on women’s health and rights.
Just a few months ago, the Trump-Pence administration called for the “domestic gag rule” to be reinstated. If this rule is implemented, it would prevent medical providers serving patients in the Title X program from referring their patients to abortion services. Federal Title X funding helps ensure that every person — regardless of where they live, how much money they make, their background, or whether or not they have health insurance — has access to basic, preventive reproductive health care.
Reinstating the gag rule is a not-so-subtle attack on health centers like Planned Parenthood that provide a whole suite of reproductive health services (in addition to abortion) to low-income patients, including birth control, STD treatment and prevention, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. Having access to these services is tremendously important. We are currently at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancies, and teenage pregnancy is also at a historic low-point – evidence that access to reproductive health care, education, and information is working.
By limiting the kind of information and care that healthcare professionals can provide to Title X patients, we risk seriously undermining these gains. New York is one of 14 states (including Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, Utah, and Vermont) in which Planned Parenthood serves more than 50% of Title X patients statewide. The gag rule would severely limit the number of patients Planned Parenthood could effectively serve.
I was once in the position of not being able to afford healthcare. Through reproductive care at Planned Parenthood, I had access to birth control. Now, 14 years later, I am the mother of two beautiful children – who came into our lives when my husband and I were ready for them.
Let’s make sure that all women can continue to access the important care that Planned Parenthood provides. Please urge your Senators to vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and continue to fight against the gag rule and other attacks on women’s health and rights that will surely continue to come.
Ithaca, New York