Black Women Stand in Support of Planned Parenthood’s Role in Family Planning

From his first day in office, Trump has been maniacally focused on blocking access to quality, affordable health care.

From his promises to gut Obamacare, to this week’s implementation of the “gag rule” on Title X reproductive health care providers, Trump’s focus has been on making sure that underserved communities face even greater barriers to accessing the health care they need. Black women and all people of color will suffer the most.

(Creative Commons / Johnny Silvercloud)

Many women of color count on Title X providers, like Planned Parenthood, to get preventive health care, including reproductive health care services. Title X-funded health centers offer more than birth control, which in and of itself is essential health care. These health professionals provide gynecological exams, contraception, counseling, cancer screenings—such as pap tests and breast exams—and screenings for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Title X providers are required to offer all family planning and sexual health services on a sliding fee scale, allowing prevention to be more accessible for those who need it most. For Black women, this care can be the difference between life and death.

Quality family planning services are essential to ensuring that Black women experience healthier pregnancies and improved post-natal health outcomes for both mothers and infants.  Family planning services are also life-saving for early detection and treatment of STD/STIs and reproductive cancers—which disproportionately impact Black women. Of the more than four million people served through Title X funded health centers, 92 percent are women and more than 20 percent are Black. Clearly, family planning and sexual health services provided by Title X-funded health centers are crucial for the health of Black women.

By forcing Planned Parenthood out of the Title X program, millions will be denied care from a trusted provider. While some will be forced to seek censored services, many will go without access to any care at all—as they are forced to choose between seeing a doctor or paying for groceries or rent. Simply put, the Trump administration’s gag rule puts millions at risk of losing access to essential health care services.

It’s important to note that this racist, classist attack, predominantly on women’s health, is part of Trump’s systemic assault on our rights—especially the rights of Black women and our communities. Not since the Jim Crow Era have we seen such an extensive web of policies targeting our most basic human rights: Trump and his supporters have crippled the Voting Rights Act, encouraged the racial hatred of white supremacists and now have gutted Black women’s access to reproductive health care.

Women of color, immigrant women and young women already face systemic barriers to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, and Planned Parenthood helps overcome some of these obstacles. At this critical time when women’s health and rights are under unprecedented attack, we stand in support of Title X and Planned Parenthood. 

This unparalleled attack on reproductive justice demands immediate action. The U.S. Senate must step up and step in to repeal the gag rule and restore funding to Title X providers, like Planned Parenthood, who are unwilling to compromise their patients’ care. As Black women, we are organizing our communities to tell their senators to take immediate action in support of our health and rights. Black women’s health and lives are on the line.

About

Marcela Howell is the founder and president of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda and the former senior policy and communications consultant for Communications Consortium Media Center and vice president of policy, communications and marketing at Advocates for Youth. She has a Masters in Literature from Saint Louis University and a JD from Pepperdine School of Law. You can follow Marcela on Twitter at @BlackWomensRJ.