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Internists: Administration’s Denial of Funding for Women’s Health Care Clinics Puts Access to Care for Millions at Risk
Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington, DC (August 20, 2019) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) fears that by forcing Planned Parenthood clinics to forgo federal funding under the Title X Family Planning Program rather than accede to unacceptable restrictions on the services they provide, millions of Americans may lose access to contraception, family planning, preventive and screening services, and abortion. ACP recognizes the appropriateness of Planned Parenthood’s decision today to withdraw from the Title X program rather than accept a government gag rule on physicians that would dictate the medical advice and referrals they can provide their patients. This loss of federal funding could force some clinics to curtail the services they can provide and the number of patients they can see, or even close, if the funding shortfall is not made up from other sources or restored by the federal government without unacceptable conditions.
Earlier this year, ACP expressed concern that allowing the government to pick and choose the advice and care doctors can offer patients would significantly impact the patient-physician relationship and could cause patients to make dangerous decisions regarding preventive care and treatment in the face of uncertainty and a lack of resources.
In April, ACP signed onto amicus briefs with other medical organizations to oppose changes to Title X— the only federal program exclusively dedicated to providing underserved patient populations with necessary health care services, including cancer screenings, vaccinations, and family planning services. The briefs expressed concern to the courts that changes to Title X would risk access to care and put facilities in the difficult position to close or limit their operations unless they agree to unethical intrusions to the patient-physician relationship. Moreover, when the draft rule was introduced in February, ACP wrote that the changes would restrict the services and care clinicians can offer their patients who are seeking reproductive health care services, create more administrative burdens for physicians, and increase documentation requirements.
When politics are injected into our health care system, access to care and preventive health services, especially for women, are jeopardized. ACP remains committed to doing everything it can to ensure all Americans, including women, have access to affordable, quality health care.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.