New polling from Hart Research Associates shows that Colorado voters are less likely to support U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) if he doesn’t push back against the Trump Administration’s recent changes to the Title X family planning program, known as the Title X gag rule.
Title X provides funding for contraception, STD testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other reproductive health services for low-income and uninsured people.
Thanks to a new Trump Administration rule, however, health centers that provide abortions, refer to abortion providers, or even discuss abortion with patients are barred from receiving these funds.
Planned Parenthood, which says it serves about 40% of the nation’s 4 million Title X recipients, was forced to pull out of the program due to the Trump administration’s changes.
According to the new poll, the Title X gag rule is deeply unpopular among likely voters in Colorado. It also showed that voters make negative judgments about politicians who support Trump’s Title X restrictions.
By a whopping 40 percent margin, those surveyed indicated that if Colorado’s Republican senator voted to uphold the Trump administration’s Title X restrictions, they would be “less likely to support him in the next election” (60%), rather than “more likely to support him in the next election” (20%).
That margin grows among independent voters who were surveyed, with 64% indicating they’re less likely to support Gardner if he votes to uphold the Trump administration’s restrictions, compared to 12% who said they’re more likely to support him.
“This polling confirms what we already know from listening to voters, who made themselves clear in the midterms and will do so again in 2020 – Coloradans want greater access to health care, not less,” said Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Action Fund (PPRMAF). “We want representation that holds our health, safety, and wellbeing as a top priority. And we’ll certainly be watching for developments around Title X and looking to hold those with the power to make a difference, like Senator Gardner, accountable for their actions on this issue.”
While Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which encompasses Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and parts of Nevada, hasn’t received funding through Title X for nearly two decades, that doesn’t mean Colorado health centers won’t be affected.
The Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, the state’s longest-standing abortion provider, was forced out of Title X. That meant slashing a fifth of its budget, or half a million dollars. Colorado has more than 70 health care providers that receive Title X funding.
The question of whether Congresspeople support or oppose Trump’s changes to Title X is being raised as Congress considers federal spending bills for 2020. Last week, after U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said she’d introduce an amendment to the Department of Health and Human Services funding bill that would bar Trump’s Title X gag rule from taking effect, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) abruptly canceled the subcommittee’s consideration of the measure.
“Title X has always had strong bipartisan support, so I’m unclear why they fear voting on it now,” Murray told POLITICO.