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Why Planned Parenthood Rejected Federal Funding

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by Kate Brunotts

Last Monday, Planned Parenthood decided to pull out of Title X’s federal funding program, which offers subsidized contraceptives and services to about 4 million low-income women. 

The reasoning behind it? Trump’s program revision included an all-encompassing gag rule: Any doctor servicing at one of the organization’s locations would be prohibited from referring abortion patients and rather limited to discussing pre-natal care except in the case of a medical emergency, incest, or rape. 

Planned Parenthood currently acts as the largest provider of reproductive health services in the United States, and it deemed the proposed changes to Title X unethical. The organization has been hinting a pull-out since the updated legislature was proposed in February of this year. 

Many confuse Title X funding to go towards abortion procedures specifically, which is false. Title X funds were and remain prohibited from funding abortion procedures. 

The administration’s new “Protect-Life” rule simply added the corollary that federal funding can only go to organizations that do not refer abortion period, surmising that Title X “indirectly funds abortion” (Whereas in reality, Title X used to fund screenings, contraceptives/preventative care, and general health services for typically low-income women).

With no updates to the proposed revisions, the organization followed through on their promise with President Alexis Johnson stating:

“We believe that the Trump administration is doing this as an attack on reproductive health care and to keep providers like Planned Parenthood from serving our patients.”

What does this mean for Planned Parenthood’s patients?

Although the long-term effects remain to be seen, it’s clear that the lack of funding will cause a huge impact for PP’s patients. 

The organization will lose about 60 million dollars per year as a result of their pullout, and contraceptive options like the traditional birth control pill will rise in price or disappear altogether, causing many women to pay out of pocket. 

Less funding means potentially fewer care providers, which could also cause longer wait and booking times for women, further adding to the decline in health care, and increased rates of unplanned pregnancy/unsafe sex.

How Reproductive Services are shifting in America

As of 2018, there are 6 states that only have one health clinic offering abortion as a service. The vast majority have less than 15 per state, with the number continuing to dwindle. Planned Parenthood ends up providing most of the country’s abortions – which makes them indispensable to the women’s health community, and places a target on their back in light of Trump’s rhetoric. 

With the appointment of known anti-abortion officials to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, federal funding is rapidly shifting to support abstinence and avoidance education, rather than give the full spectrum of choices for reproductive health. For example, the religious-affiliated health provider Obria is expected to receive a 1.7 million dollar grant through Title X. These clinics, although providing pre-natal care and STD screenings, do not offer any forms of contraception, including condoms. 

Moreover, upon a quick Google search, I found the companies optimized headline as, “Obria – Abortion Information, Pregnancy Testing, STD testing”, despite Obria being fully-fledged against abortion. The “abortion information” section of the website recommends an “abortion pre-screening” but does not outright confirm the provider’s decision to prohibit and recommend fervently against them. 

At Obria, we respect a woman’s right to choose to be gaslit by us!

Tactics like these are used to get women in the facility under the guise that they’ll be presented with all available options. Rather than get the coveted unbiased opinion from a health care provider, they’ll receive heavily slanted information in an extremely vulnerable state. 

Sadly, centers like this one are nothing new. Crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs for short, vastly outnumber abortion clinics and market directly to their clientele. 

Having to consider an abortion is probably one of the rawest and most jarring positions a woman can be in. Instead of attacking her by way of restrictive legislation, we should support her right to be properly educated on the full scope of options. 

With Trump’s “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” gag rule, women’s health access continues to decline at an alarming rate. 

Damned if we’re going to let that happen, though. Donate to Planned Parenthood right here, right now.

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