Commentary

By Dianne Feinstein

Originially published in Medium.

Imagine this scenario. A woman goes to her doctor. She has a heart condition that her primary care doctor is unable to treat, so she asks for a referral to a cardiologist who’s better equipped to care for her.

Her primary care doctor says that she can’t help her. She can’t refer her to a specialist because the federal government has put onerous restrictions on her practice.

The American people would never accept such blatant interference in the relationship between patients and their doctors.

Women’s health should be no different, but that’s exactly what the Trump administration is pushing?—?interference in the relationship between women and their doctors.

The Trump administration has proposed blocking health care providers that receive federal funding for family planning services from providing or even referring patients to abortion care.

In other words, this Trump policy would require that medical providers withhold medical information and refuse to discuss the full range of women’s reproductive health options in order to continue serving patients who need birth control and health screenings.

The Title X program provides critical family planning services to 4 million low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients nationally, including more than 1 million in California.

This proposal would affect every single patient who walks through the door of Title X providers like Planned Parenthood?—?putting them at risk of losing access to their preferred medical provider and still receive full, medically accurate, and unbiased information.

Another harmful provision in the current proposal removes the requirement that patients are provided a broad range of contraceptive methods to choose from and strikes the requirement that they be “medically approved”.

Weakening current standards could result in taxpayer dollars going to organizations that do not actually provide medical care or birth control options that are FDA-approved.

All Americans who believe the government has no place in making their personal health care decisions should be outraged. The administration would never similarly target health care services for men.

The bottom line is that low-income women are being targeted as part of a political effort to block access to reproductive health providers with the clear intent of putting Planned Parenthood out of business.

I encourage the public to make their voices heard during the Department of Health and Human Services comment period, which closes on July 31st.

Regardless of whether you directly benefit from the Title X family planning program, all Americans have a stake in their government interfering in personal medical decisions. Visit www.regulations.gov and reference docket number HHS-OS-2018–0008. We must stand together to stop this indefensible policy.