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Reproductive health care providers were hampered by Trump-era policies, study shows

The Guttmacher Institute conducted interviews with publicly funded, family-planning health care providers. Their study found that restrictive state and federal policies had a negative impact on a person’s ability to access birth control.

Bré Thomas is the CEO of the Arizona Family Health Partnership, a nonprofit that administers the Title X grant, which provides dollars to reproductive and sexual health care providers. 

She says a few things happened when the Title X “domestic gag rule,” which, for example, limited referrals to abortion providers, was imposed by the Trump administration.  

"Planned Parenthood left because of the domestic gag rule. And then we had COVID-19 … So for us during 2019 and 2020, we had, you know, half of our network leave when Planned Parenthood left. So that was 50% of our money, 60% of our clients," said Thomas. 

Thomas says besides a decrease in patients being able to access contraception, those policies also impacted access to sexual health care, like pap smears and testing for sexually transmitted infections. 

"When women aren't accessing services, that means that they're either using a less effective birth control method; there's an increased opportunity for unintended pregnancies," Thomas said. "And then you also aren't doing those well checks, either, you know, breast exams or cervical exams."

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.