There’s Nothing Funny About this Gag
This is latest idea from the Republican Party bereft of vote-winning ideas. When faced with the fury of voters, they failed to repeal and replace Obamacare (an action Leonard Lance voted for at least 39 times). The Tax Cuts and Jobs Creation Act may have sent the champagne corks popping amongst the big donors, but it produced no joy in Mudville. Nevertheless, a reliable approach to stir up the base is to go after abortion rights and Planned Parenthood.
Hence the contemplated decision to cut off abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood by banning them from receiving Title X health care funding if they mention abortion or abortion-related services-- even if they also provide safe abortion services using their own, separate, non-federal funds.
Title X is the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care that four million people rely on. And, no surprise, those who lack health insurance, or have low incomes, are those who will suffer from this decision.
This so-called “gag rule” was implemented for overseas aid years ago by the Reagan administration, and then by George W. Bush, and again a year ago by Trump/Pence. Overseas groups spending even a dime of their own money advocating for changes in their own nation’s abortion laws were made ineligible to receive family planning funds from the U.S. The results were predictable - an increase in unintended pregnancies, more unsafe abortions, and a chill on public-health research and discussions. But it has been a policy goal of Mike Pence and the right to bring this policy home for over a decade.
There is political calculation here. Trump has been shown a list of the top 2018 competitive House races, in which every single sitting Republican is pro-life, including our own Leonard Lance. White House support for this change is seen as a winning issue. Lance has been quiet on the topic. Call him up, express your opposition to the “gag rule” and inquire of the Congressman’s position: (908) 518-7733. If you get a straight answer, let us know.