Two weeks ago, my mature and independent 18-year-old daughter took herself to Planned Parenthood in Moorhead to get birth control before she left for college. Our medical plan provided to us through the state of North Dakota does not cover contraception. Luckily, as a Minnesota resident, she was able to access funds that supplement the portion of the birth control cost that Title X does not cover. This hits home for all F-M area women. The Moorhead clinic served over 3,000 women last year, this is more than any other Planned Parenthood clinic across Greater Minnesota. The numbers are so high in Moorhead because a great number of their patients come from North Dakota.

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In light of Planned Parenthood declining Title X funding due to the Trump/Pence domestic gag rule that will go into effect shortly, the United States, and more specifically Clay and Cass Counties, are losing access to a valuable resource for low cost contraception and preventive women's health services. The gag rule prohibits health care providers that receive Title X funding from discussing abortion care with their patients.

The American Medical Association, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and over 100 public health organizations oppose this gag rule. To be clear, under previous Title X rules, no federal money was used to support abortion. So why impose this rule?

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Science tells us that the most effective way to prevent abortion is to provide access to safe and affordable (even free) contraception. But, this president, vice president, and Republicans across the nation insist on mixing up contraception access with abortion access. If you are against abortion, then the logical conclusion would be that you would be for contraception access. Make the leap, even if you are pro life, and call your North Dakota senators to tell them to block the gag rule.