The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) supports women’s complete
access to reproductive health and therefore opposes the Department of Health and Human Services’
proposed rule changes to the Title X National Family Planning Program set to take effect on May 3,
2019 if no judicial action is taken.
The current Proposed Rule “Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements” would force
physicians, nurses, and other clinicians who receive Title X funding to withhold evidence-based
medical information from their patients. If finalized as written, this rule would compromise the open
line of communication and trust that currently exists between patients and their physicians, and
restrict access to reproductive health care for the 41% of Americans that depend on Title X-funded
clinics. In addition, the proposed changes make it illegal for Title X health care providers to offer
patients information on how to safely and legally access abortions without being directly asked,
which dangerously infringes upon the patient-provider relationship.
Such a change would worsen already existing health disparities as Title X-funded clinics serve
populations that have historically faced significant barriers to accessing health care, including African
Americans, Latin Americans, and the LGBTQ+ community. Finally, restricting access to care and
information can lead to an increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies, pregnancy
complications, and undiagnosed medical conditions, and will reverse decades of progress that have
brought our nation to a 30-year low for unplanned pregnancy and record low teen pregnancy rates.
As the next generation of osteopathic physicians, the Student Osteopathic Medical Association
believes that these proposed changes directly affect us by limiting our future practice scope through
censorship of the information, counseling, and range of reproductive health options we are able to
legally present to our future patients. For these reasons, we join the dozens of physician, public
health, and nursing organizations that stand against these proposed infringements on patient access
to care and physician and patient communication.