Oregon ends nearly 50-year participation in federal Title X program in response to Trump administration gag rule

Malheur County Health Department is affected by the termination of Title X funding, but will continue to provide reproductive health services, including birth control, STI testing and treatment, at low to no cost with other funding. Call 541-889-7279 to schedule an appointment.

Published on Oregon Health Authority External Relations August 27, 2019

After the Oregon Health Authority declined to use federal dollars in the wake of new Trump administration rules that prevent health practitioners from discussing abortion with their patients, the federal Department of Health and Human Services directed Oregon to give up its Title X grant or face grant termination. In response, Oregon has no choice but to relinquish funding and end its Title X grant.

Health clinics that received Title X funding provide comprehensive reproductive health care that helps their patients plan the timing and size of their families, prevent unwanted pregnancies, diagnose and treat sexually transmitted infections and detect cancer. Last year Title X-funded clinics served 44,241 Oregonians.

Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, issued the following statement regarding the new federal gag rule and OHA’s decision to leave the Title X program:

Yesterday the Oregon Health Authority faced a deadline imposed by the federal government to withdraw from the Title X family planning program, or face termination for non-compliance. Last week Oregon informed the United States Department of Health and Human Services that we had suspended the use of the federal funds to avoid imposing the administration’s newly implemented gag rule on Oregon women. The federal government has rejected Oregon’s plan.

The new federal gag rule, which was not informed by evidence-based medical practice, bars health care providers from fully informing Oregon women about their most personal reproductive health choices and denies them access to a comprehensive range of health services. Oregon is the lead plaintiff, joined by 19 other states and the District of Columbia, as well as Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association, in a lawsuit challenging the Title X rule.

The federal deadline leaves Oregon no choice but to end our nearly 50-year participation in Title X and relinquish our grant. We cannot violate our own state laws that guarantee Oregon women full access to reproductive health services and prohibit any restriction on benefits, services or information regarding a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Yesterday the Oregon Health Authority faced a deadline imposed by the federal government to withdraw from the Title X family planning program, or face termination for non-compliance. Last week Oregon informed the United States Department of Health and Human Services that we had suspended the use of the federal funds to avoid imposing the administration’s newly implemented gag rule on Oregon women. The federal government has rejected Oregon’s plan.

The new federal gag rule, which was not informed by evidence-based medical practice, bars health care providers from fully informing Oregon women about their most personal reproductive health choices and denies them access to a comprehensive range of health services. Oregon is the lead plaintiff, joined by 19 other states and the District of Columbia, as well as Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association, in a lawsuit challenging the Title X rule.

The federal deadline leaves Oregon no choice but to end our nearly 50-year participation in Title X and relinquish our grant. We cannot violate our own state laws that guarantee Oregon women full access to reproductive health services and prohibit any restriction on benefits, services or information regarding a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Oregon stands in solidarity with other states in maintaining that the new Title X rule will reduce access to birth control, cancer screenings and reproductive choices. Oregon is fortunate to have funds available to continue offering comprehensive reproductive health care services. Every person in Oregon should know this federal action will not prevent health clinics and care providers from continuing to offer the full range of high-quality, personalized and trusted reproductive health services they have always delivered.

7 Things You Should Know About Bats and Rabies

70% of Americans who die from rabies in the US were infected by bats – CDC Vital Signs. But bats are not bad! We need to know more to prevent infection and protect this species that protects us from other diseases.

As the weather warms up, adult bats come out of hibernation, baby bats are learning to fly, and humans get outdoors, which means a big increase in human-bat interactions compared to other times of year. Bats can be infected with rabies and can spread that infection to humans who have bare skin contact with bats or bat saliva. 

Oregon has 15 species of bats. Learn more about them at the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Bats are flying mammals that can reach speeds of 20 to 30 mph. Some of Oregon’s species migrate south in winter while some remain here and hibernate. Bats have ecolocation which allows them to make high-pitched sounds then listen to the echo of those sounds to locate where objects are. Echolocation helps them find even the smallest insect. 

Kate Cole from Public Health Insider compiled seven important things to know about bats and rabies. Please share this information with your friends, family, and children to make sure they know how to protect themselves from rabies in bats.

7. Bats are the main source of rabies in the United States. 

All mammals can get rabies, but in the United States, bats are the primary animal source of rabies. 

6. If you see a bat, do not touch it!! 

Any bare skin contact with a bat or its saliva, or waking up to a bat in your room, could put you at risk for exposure to rabies. Teach your kids not to touch bats, or any wild animal, and be sure to keep your pets away from bats. Talk to your family about the importance of respecting wildlife from a distance.  

5. If you think you or your children or pets may have touched or picked up a bat, take immediate action: 

  • Immediately wash the area that came into contact with the bat thoroughly with soap and water.  
  • Call your medical provider. If a person has been exposed to rabies, an injection of immune globulin and a series of rabies vaccinations need to be given as soon as possible to prevent infection and death. 
  • If you think you had contact with a bat, try to trap it! Trapping it means it can be tested for rabies and people potentially exposed can get the treatment they need. “How am I supposed to trap a bat?” you ask. Good news – there’s a how-to video.

4Pets are at-risk for getting rabies from bats, too. 

Vaccinate your pets against rabies to protect them in case they are exposed. Talk to your veterinarian to see if your furry family members need to update their rabies vaccine.  

Keep your pet under direct supervision so they don’t come into contact with bats. If you suspect your pet has come into contact with a bat, call your veterinarian, even if your pet is up to date on its vaccinations. Your veterinarian may need to give it a booster shot to protect it! 

3If you have problems with bats getting inside your house, you can do a lot to make your home more bat-proof. 

Putting screens on windows can prevent bats from accidentally flying into your home. Sometimes, bats are attracted to nesting in attics or inside a wall. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has excellent tips on easy things you can do to your home or building to prevent bats from getting inside

2. Most bats don’t have rabies. 

Although exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that less than 1% of bats are infected with rabies. Unfortunately, you cannot tell if a bat has rabies by looking at it; only testing the brain tissue on a dead bat can confirm if a bat has rabies (live bats need to be humanely euthanized before they can be tested for rabies). So, assume all bats may have rabies and never touch them. 

1. Bats are a vital part of our local ecosystem.  

Don’t let all this information about rabies give you a negative opinion on bats. What bats enjoy is eating large amounts of night-flying insects like mosquitos, termites, and agricultural pests, diminishing mosquito-related diseases and the need for pesticides in our community. In fact, some people try to attract bats to their property to help reduce the number of insects. For information on how to build a bat house for your yard, check out this resource.

Article adapted from Public Health Insider.