June 8, 2018
Dear Secretary Azar,
We, the undersigned mayors, lead over 75 cities across the United States, representing big cities as well as rural areas and more than 32 million Americans. We write on behalf of these communities and families to express our vehement opposition to the implementation of a domestic “gag rule” on the Title X family planning program. By prohibiting health care providers in the program from referring their patients for abortion, this policy would deny people the information they need to make their own informed health care decisions. On top of banning information on abortion, the domestic gag rule is also designed to make it impossible for Planned Parenthood health centers and other specialized reproductive health care providers to serve patients in the program, which would mean patients in communities across the country would lose access to basic health care. The gag rule would have a devastating impact on women and families in our communities.
Title X is the nation’s only program dedicated to providing affordable birth control and reproductive health care to people with low incomes or who are otherwise underserved. Every year, more than four million women, men, and young people go to Title X-funded health centers for basic, confidential preventive health care, including cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings, pregnancy testing, and annual exams.
Forty-one percent of people who receive care under Title X are served at Planned Parenthood health centers. Planned Parenthood is one of the largest providers of high-quality reproductive health care in the United States. An estimated one in five women in this country relies on Planned Parenthood in her lifetime. Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive family planning, cervical and breast cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and annual exams. Nearly 2.4 million women, men, and young people rely on Planned Parenthood, more than one third of whom are people of color. Because of the role Planned Parenthood plays in communities across the country, and because of the role it has played in the lives of millions of Americans, people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood and strongly oppose efforts to prevent patients from accessing accurate medical information at its health centers.
Making it impossible for Planned Parenthood to keep seeing Title X patients and preventing all Title X-funded providers from offering critical information to patients would have serious consequences and an extraordinarily harmful impact on communities in our cities and and across the nation. The reality is that if this blatant administrative attack on reproductive health is implemented, millions of people will lose access to health care and be unaware of the services available to them ー some of those services are lifesaving. That is why mayors are standing in support of health care access for all people, and urging you to cease any plans to implement a gag rule that would deny preventive care and access to information to guide optimal health care decisions for millions of Americans.
No one knows better than mayors how devastating it would be to take away access to health care and information from the people that we are honored to represent. If all Title X patients are blocked from receiving the full scope of medical information, it would be an attack on the well-being and economic security of those who already face barriers to accessing health care and need it most. People go to Planned Parenthood and other Title X centers because they know they will find health care professionals who are compassionate experts dedicated to reproductive and preventive health care. We know our communities, and we know they rely on the trusted care provided through the Title X program. It would be nothing short of disastrous for the millions of people who access care through the Title X program to lose access to the providers that they trust and to the expert information that directly impacts their bodies and lives. We urge you to withdraw the rule and not move forward with this harmful policy and instead put the lives and health of people in this country first and foremost.
Mayor Coral J. Evans, City of Flagstaff, AZMayor Greg Stanton, City of Phoenix, AZMayor Jonathan Rothschild, City of Tucson, AZMayor Chris Canning, City of Calistoga, CAMayor Mary Casillas Salas, City of Chula Vista, CAMayor Steven A. Hernandez, City of Coachella, CAMayor Andre Quintero, City of El Monte, CAMayor Robert Garcia, City of Long Beach, CAMayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles, CAMayor Jill Techel, City of Napa, CAMayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland, CAMayor Robert Moon, City of Palm Springs, CAMayor Michael M. Vargas, City of Perris, CAMayor Darrell Steinberg, City of Sacramento, CAMayor Alan Galbraith, City of Saint Helena, CAMayor Mark Farrell, City of San Francisco, CAMayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose, CAMayor Miguel Pulido, City of Santa Ana, CAMayor Michael Tubbs, City of Stockton, CAMayor John Heilman, City of West Hollywood, CAMayor Luke A. Bronin, City of Hartford, CTMayor Toni N. Harp, City of New Haven, CTMayor Muriel Bowser, City of Washington, DCMayor Polly Sierer, City of Newark, DEMayor Michael S. Purzycki, City of Wilmington, DEMayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando, FLMayor Andrew D. Gillum, City of Tallahassee, FLMayor John Hamilton, City of Bloomington, INMayor LaToya Cantrell, City of New Orleans, LAMayor Martin J. Walsh, City of Boston, MAMayor Edward M. Estes, City of Glenarden, MDMayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis, MNMayor Melvin Carter, City of Saint Paul, MNMayor Lyda Krewson, City of St Louis, MOMayor Esther E. Manheimer , City of Asheville, NCMayor Pam Hemminger, City of Chapel Hill, NCMayor Steve Schewel, City of Durham, NCMayor Eulis A. Willis, City of Navassa, NCMayor Joyce Craig, City of Manchester, NHMayor Ravi S. Bhalla, City of Hoboken, NJMayor Steven Fulop, City of Jersey City, NJMayor Timothy P. Dougherty, City of Morristown, NJMayor Ras J. Baraka, City of Newark, NJMayor Bill de Blasio, City of New York, NYMayor Steve Patterson, City of Athens, OHMayor Nan Whaley, City of Dayton, OHMayor John Stromberg, City of Ashland, ORMayor Jeff Gowing, City of Cottage Grove, ORMayor Lucy Vinis, City of Eugene, ORMayor Chuck Bennett, City of Salem, ORMayor Dwan B Walker, City of Aliquippa, PAMayor Jeanne Sorg, City of Ambler, PAMayor Emily Marburger, City of Bellevue, PAMayor John Fetterman, City of Braddock, PAMayor Aidsand F Wright-Riggins, City of Collegeville, PAMayor Ron Strouse, City of Doylestown, PAMayor Eric Papenfuse, City of Harrisburg, PAMayor Nancy Guenst, City of Hatboro, PAMayor Brian Spoales, City of Millvale, PAMayor Jim Kenney, City of Philadelphia, PAMayor Bill Peduto, City of Pittsburgh, PAMayor Stephanie A. Henrick, City of Pottstown, PAMayor Matthew V. Rudzki, City of Sharpsburg, PAMayor Tarah Probst, City of Stroudsburg, PAMayor Tim Kearney, City of Swarthmore, PAMayor Kelley Kelley, City of Turtle Creek, PAMayor William A. Dennon, City of Upland Borough, PAMayor Dianne Herrin, City of West Chester, PAMayor Marita Garrett, City of Wilkinsburg, PAMayor Steve Adler, City of Austin, TXMayor Mike Rawlings, City of Dallas, TXMayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston, TXMayor McKinley L. Price, DDS, City of Newport News, VAMayor Levar M. Stoney, City of Richmond, VAMayor Kelli Linville, City of Bellingham, WAMayor Cassie Franklin, City of Everett, WAMayor Amy Walen, City of Kirkland, WAMayor Andy Ryder, City of Lacey, WAMayor Jennifer Gregerson, City of Mukilteo, WAMayor Jenny A. Durkan, City of Seattle, WAMayor Will Hall, City of Shoreline, WAMayor Jackie Biskupski, City of Salt Lake City, UT