Mayor Catherine Pugh and Baltimore's congressional delegation on Monday denounced potential federal cuts to health centers that perform abortions or are affiliated with those who do.
Mayor Catherine Pugh and Baltimore's congressional delegation on Monday denounced potential federal cuts to health centers that perform abortions or are affiliated with those who do. (Andrea k. McDaniels / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore’s congressional delegation joined city officials Monday in denouncing potential federal cuts to reproductive health services.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed creating a rule that would prevent funding from the Title X Family Planning Program from going to health centers that perform abortions or are affiliated with those who do.

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Under what some are calling a “gag rule,” the health centers that get Title X funding would also not be allowed to “promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”

The delegation joined Mayor Catherine Pugh and Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen at the city’s Druid Clinic on North Avenue to protest the rule change, which is in a public comment period until July 31.

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The clinic is one of 23 health centers in the city that gets the funding. The health centers served more than 17,000 patients in 2016. The city gets $560,000 in Title X money; the Maryland Department of Health provides another $850,000 that is subjected to Title X rules.

The lawmakers said the Title X rule change will hurt access to all health services because the clinics also provide services such as cancer screenings, HIV testing and counseling and substance use and mental health screenings.

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