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Raimondo joins with Democratic Governors to oppose Trump Administration domestic gag rule



The Democratic Governors Association, of which Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is vice-chair, sent a letter to United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressing concerns over the Trump Administration’s plan to  place sweeping new restrictions on reproductive healthcare providers across our country.

“For more than 40 years, Title X has been an important partnership between the federal government and states that has been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike,” reads the letter signed by 14 of the 16 United States Democratic Governors. “This dangerous proposal would upend decades of bipartisan cooperation, taking away women’s healthcare through trusted medical providers like Planned Parenthood and eroding their access to comprehensive, medically accurate information. We strongly urge you to reconsider this plan, which is nothing more than a domestic “gag rule” that poses serious risks to women’s health.”

According to Planned Parenthood:

More than four million people rely on affordable birth control and reproductive health care services that are funded by Title X. Many of these people don’t even know Title X exists, but without it they wouldn’t be able to access this essential care. The basic primary and preventive health care services provided by Title X include:

  • Wellness exams
  • Lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings
  • Birth control
  • Contraception education
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV testing

In 2016 alone, health centers used Title X funding to provide nearly 700,000 Pap tests, more than four million STD tests (including HIV tests), and nearly one million women with breast exams.

The governor’s threatened legal action if “this reckless policy is finalized as written.”

“If the federal government breaks its commitment to states in the Title X program, we will react in kind and do what is necessary to protect the health of our constituents. We call on all Americans to actively and aggressively oppose this proposed action. And if this reckless policy is finalized as written, we will have no choice but to explore all possible avenues, including legal options, to block it from harming the women in our states. Our voices will be heard on this damaging proposal, and we are prepared to match our words with action.”

Governors Jay Inslee of Washington, Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Dan Malloy of Connecticut, Steve Bullock of Montana, David Ige of Hawaii, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Kate Brown of Oregon, John Carney of Delaware, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, and Ralph Northam of Virginia signed the letter.

You can read the full letter here.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.