Women’s health would suffer with gag rule

It is outrageous that extremists in the Trump administration are proposing to institute a domestic “gag rule” — silencing doctors and other health care workers at certain clinics from even talking about abortion.

This plan would apply to staff at clinics funded by Title X — a federal program that provides family planning and well-woman care to four million patients, including Pap tests, breast cancer screenings, and HIV tests to four million patients.

Doctors and other staff would be legally banned from providing abortion, or counseling a woman about one, or even referring a woman elsewhere for an abortion — even if she asked, and even if her health was at risk.

In addition, clinics that refuse to comply could be shut down, leaving low-income patients with nowhere to turn for well-woman care, especially in rural and medically underserved communities.

Women deserve the full range of medical care and knowledge, not government-censored doctors’ offices. Secretary Azar should reject this proposal.

Mary O’Neill

Presque Isle