Cummings Seeks Subpoena for Documents Being Withheld by HHS on Gag Rule For Title X Family Planning Program

Jul 9, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (July 9, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter asking Chairman Trey Gowdy to issue a subpoena to compel the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to produce documents it is currently withholding relating to the harmful gag rule it has proposed for the Title X National Family Planning Program.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact this proposed rule would have on more than 4 million individuals who rely on the Title X Program to access comprehensive reproductive health care,” Cummings wrote.

On June 20, 2018, all Committee Democrats wrote to the Secretary of HHS requesting documents relating to the proposed gag rule. To date, they have received no response to their request.

Unveiled on June 1, 2018, the proposed gag rule would severely restrict health care providers receiving Title X funds by preventing them from informing women about the full range of healthcare options available to them, from referring patients to other qualified providers for abortion services, and from ensuring women have access to all forms of acceptable and “medically approved” birth control. 

The rule also would require providers who offer abortions to maintain fully separate staff, resources, and facilities for such services should they wish to continue receiving Title X funds for the other reproductive health care services they offer. 

“The changes made by this proposed rule would greatly impede women’s access to family planning resources and ensure that low-income women have fewer health care providers to rely upon for comprehensive, quality reproductive care,” Cummings wrote.

The subpoena requested by Cummings would compel HHS to produce all documents and communications relating to the drafting of the proposed Title X rule, communications and meetings of HHS employees, including meetings and communications with nongovernmental individuals relating to the proposed rule since January 2017, and any communications, discussions, or briefings with career HHS staffers relating to the proposed rule.

Click here to read today’s letter. 

115th Congress