BURLINGTON, Vt. – Refusing to comply with a recently introduced rule from the Trump administration that would ban Title X program providers from telling patients how or where to access an abortion, the State of Vermont has withdrawn from the program and will use state funds to close the gap.
Since 1970, Title X has helped provide funding for birth control, cancer screenings and sex education services to low-income families across the United States.
In Vermont, roughly 10,000 people benefit from it, which is why Health Commissioner Mark Levine said it was important to protect those services.
“I think all of the services, from a public health standpoint, we regard as highly important,” Dr. Levine said. “Whether it’s counseling, contraception access, preventative health services or prevention of infectious diseases.”
Dr. Levine said between $800 thousand and $1 million will go toward filling the gap left by Title X. He sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday explaining that the Trump administration’s rule would conflict with Vermont’s recently-passed abortion protection legislation.
Planned Parenthood is the only Title X provider in Vermont, and they’ve made it clear they intend to fight the new rule in Vermont and around the nation.
“For our patients, healthcare is not political, it’s personal. But the gag rule is political,” said Eileen Sullivan, communications director for Vermont Planned Parenthood. “We want to continue to provide that care, and we will always deliver that care no matter what happens in Washington D.C.”
Gov. Phil Scott also weighed in on the matter, defending the State’s decision to withdraw from Title X.
“It’s important that we maintain women’s rights and access to health care,” Gov. Scott said. “It’s unfortunate we are at this point, but I appreciate the collaboration with the attorney general and legislature to put aside contingency funding.”
If the Trump Administration’s rule continues into next year, Vermont lawmakers would need to add funding to the next budget to continue providing low-income family planning services.