The Trump-Pence administration is finalizing a shameful attack on the reproductive health care of those in Southeastern Ohio. 

For 40 years, Title X has been the nation’s family planning program that offers affordable birth control and reproductive health. Four million across the country and more than 59,000 people in Ohio rely on this program for health services. 

Title X ensures that every person — regardless of where they live, how much money they make, their background, or whether they’re insured — has access to basic, preventive reproductive health care such as birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. 

The Trump-Pence administration’s proposed changes to Title X would require providers like Planned Parenthood to neither discuss nor refer abortion with their patients, leaving the organization with no choice but to act in the best interest of patients and providers and refuse to participate in the unethical Title X program. These changes take direct aim at people with low-incomes, people of color and underserved, rural areas. 

Athens County has the highest rate of poverty in Ohio, making the availability of affordable health care services especially important in this area. Planned Parenthood is the only Title X provider in Athens County, offering vital reproductive health care services at sliding scale prices. I personally have depended on the Athens health center many times for services I could not have afforded otherwise, and I cannot imagine what I would have done without them. 

The finalization of Trump’s domestic gag rule will revoke essential resources from Planned Parenthood and other Title X providers, stripping away their ability to provide basic reproductive health care to Athens County residents who need it the most. 

Most importantly, those of us in Athens County will have nowhere else to go for high-quality,  affordable care.

We must stand up against this attack on rural Ohioans’ ability to access to essential health care.

Emma Schultz is a graduate of Ohio University.