What is the “Domestic Gag Rule”?
On Friday, June 1, the Trump Administration officially proposed a nationwide gag rule, marking a radical departure on how health care operates in the United States. This rule would make it illegal for doctors, nurses, hospitals, community health centers, and any other provider in the Title X program to tell patients how they can safely and legally access abortion.
By targeting Title X, the federal policy under which low-income people get access to birth control and reproductive health care, this domestic gag rule would penalize people for being poor and prevent them from seeing trusted reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood. In addition, the rule would require health care providers to withhold vital information about where to obtain an abortion if a patient should want or need one.
In effect, this would remove the guarantee that patients are getting full and accurate information about their health care from their doctor.
Why Should People of Faith Speak Out?
This unethical, harmful, and immoral rule imposes one narrow set of religious beliefs on all Americans and jeopardizes the health of low-income Americans. As religious leaders and people of faith, we believe that poor people deserve the same access to health care as everyone else. Our faith calls us to care for those who are most vulnerable in society. It also calls us to respect the moral agency of all people and to tell the truth. We cannot be silent while this administration threatens the health care of those who can least afford it. Further, we must speak out against a policy that requires doctors to withhold vital information from their patients.
As we have said before, “Denying health care to people who need it directly contradicts the call of our faiths to care for those in need and side with the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable.” Even as we advocate from our faith-rooted perspective, we recognize that no single religious voice can speak for all faith traditions, nor should government take sides on religious differences. All people must have the right to apply or reject the principles of their own faith without legal restrictions. It is imperative that we as a society put the needs, rights, and autonomy of people seeking health care before any one set of religious beliefs.
What Can People of Faith Do?
The gag rule has was proposed on June 1 and there is a 60-day public comment period. You can submit a comment on the proposed rule to the department of Health and Human Services. In your comment, be sure to mention that you are a person of faith and say why your faith calls you to comment on the proposed rule.