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AWC Speaks Out in Bustle Magazine Title X Gag Rule Hurts Women & Families

Terry Sallas Merritt, an executive team member at A Woman's Choice (AWC), which has three abortion-providing health care clinics in North Carolina and one in Jacksonville, Florida, says that while AWC does not receive Title X funding, its clinics will feel the ripple effects of the rule.


Restricting access to Title X funding could force people to choose between getting contraception and supporting their families, as 59% of women who get abortions already have children.


A Woman's Choice clinics offer significant discounts on many of their services and will often work with national [and regional] health and abortion funds to get procedures covered for its patients. Sometimes funding doesn't come through in full, in which case Sallas Merritt says the provider will often still provide the procedure. It will be even more difficult for A Woman's Choice to provide an abortion under those circumstances if the gag rule ends up restricting access to contraception and causing an increase in unexpected pregnancies, Sallas Merritt says.


"It means that we're working harder to find more funding from organizations that have lost their funding to help women prevent unplanned pregnancies," she tells Bustle.

Sallas Merritt says all reproductive health care providers will have to work harder for funding, because now more of them will be turning to private donors and nonprofits to help people access the health care they need.


"We have an organization right now we usually go to for help, but they're already out of money," she says. "So that's one of the other impacts: the more people who look for funding, the more funding is needed."


"If I'm going to pay for $45 a month for a birth control prescription, what does that do about my childcare money, my bus transportation money, my dinner money for the kids? It affects every single aspect of their lives," Sallas Merritt tells Bustle. "When a Title X funder does not exist anymore, that affects all of us who serve women, because all of us end up trying to help women in whatever ways we can — to help them be able to still take responsibility for their own bodies and their own lives.”

Stephanie Shea