Sexuality Education

Trump’s Title X gag rule restricts health care for those who need it most

For Immediate Release
March 5, 2019

Contact: Zach Eisenstein
Phone: (202) 265-2405 ext 3330

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services published its final Title X gag rule in the Federal Register. The bulk of the rule will go into effect on May 3, 2019, unless it is blocked in court. Samantha Dercher, SIECUS’ Federal Policy Director, released the following statement in response:

“This gag rule is not just an attack on Title X – it’s an attack on young people. And its impacts will be felt most deeply by young people of color, LGBTQ youth, and young people living in rural areas.

In addition to destroying the core tenets of the Title X family planning program, this unlawful rule disregards medical ethics, tramples upon patients’ rights and confidentiality, and harms patient health. The rule attempts to coerce health care providers to withhold medically accurate information and services from their patients. It punishes existing Title X providers by mandating unnecessary and resource-draining physical separation requirements, and would make it impossible for many Title X-funded entities to refer patients for abortion care.

Disturbingly, this rule pressures providers to urge young patients to involve their parents in their family planning care decisions – and requires clinics to document these efforts in detail. Even if the provider has good reason to believe that parental inclusion would be harmful to a minor, this rule forces the provider to go against their own professional judgment and encourage parental involvement nonetheless.

We know who gets care at Title X-funded facilities – and who this rule is targeting. It’s targeting the four million patients that Title X serves annually. 88% are women and 65% are under age 30. And two-thirds of Title X patients have incomes at or below the poverty level. This rule was carefully crafted to target the communities that already face barriers to health care based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, income level, geographic location, and age.

Young people need comprehensive sexuality education, information, and equitable access to health services. When young people fear that their care will not be confidential, they may forego sexual and reproductive health care altogether. The last thing young people need is yet another roadblock to accessing care. We offer full support to our partners across the country who are working, right now, to block this dangerous gag rule in court.”


The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) has served as the national voice for sex education, sexual health, and sexual rights for over 50 years. SIECUS asserts that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the rights of all people to accurate information, comprehensive sexuality education, and the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice inclusive of sexual and reproductive rights.