ONEONTA — Oneonta’s Family Planning of South Central New York is applauding the Cuomo Administration’s withdrawal from the federal Title X family planning program because, for the time being, it prohibits federal funding from being used for abortion referrals or abortions themselves.
“We applaud Governor Cuomo and state public health officials for their decision to reject Title X funding as long as the coercive, unethical gag rule is in effect,” said Debra Marcus, the local agency’s CEO. “And we also urge the governor to release the $16 million designated by the state Legislature to help offset this loss of millions of federal grant dollars.”
The rule has been allowed to go into effect as a federal appeals court hears one of the many legal cases challenging the administration’s changes to the federal program, the agency said.
Title X, which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, is the only federal program specifically focused on supporting the delivery of family planning care to millions of low-income, uninsured and under-served people.
“The relationship between a patient and their medical care provider is rooted in honesty and trust. This dangerous gag rule violates that trust, and puts patients’ health and wellness at risk,” Marcus said.
While Family Planning does not provide abortion care services at any of its five local health centers, the agency’s health-care staff provides patients with “non-judgmental, all-options pregnancy counseling — including providing information about, and referrals for, abortion care,” the agency said in a press release.