NYC Health + Hospitals will not accept Title X funds while the so-called abortion gag rule is in effect, officials announced over the weekend.
The country’s largest public health system announced on Saturday that leadership had directed front-line clinicians to “support patients on whatever pathway they choose,” including referrals for and information about abortion.
The health system said it will reject $1.3 million in funding from the federal government until the “gag rule” is lifted, and New York City will cover that money from its coffers, according to the announcement.
“NYC Health + Hospitals delivers essential services to New Yorkers, and we will not let the federal government tell us how to limit the healthcare options for our patients,” Mitchell Katz, M.D., president and CEO of the health system, said in a statement.
“We are prepared to find other ways to compensate for the loss of funding and ensure we remain true to our mission to care for all, without exception, and regardless of income, immigration or insurance status,” Katz said.
The Trump administration finalized a rule in February that would require clinics seeking Title X funding to keep themselves “separate” from an abortion provider. Physicians have decried the move as a “gag rule” that prevents them from providing complete health information to patients.
Medical groups, including the American Medical Association, have filed suit to challenge the rule, though a federal appeals judge allowed the rule to go into effect in late June as the legal battle plays out.
White House officials have challenged the argument that the final rule is a “gag rule.”
Diane Foley, M.D., deputy assistant secretary in the office of population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a congressional hearing that the rule doesn’t prevent physicians from having complete conversations with patients but allows doctors with “conscience” objections to omit information on abortion.
It also aims to prevent “co-mingling” of Title X funds for abortion services, Foley said.
In the announcement, New York City Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Herminia Palacio, M.D., said that NYC Health + Hospitals physicians will not be “silenced” by the policy.
“This rule is unconscionable and an affront to the professional ethics of all doctors,” Palacio said.