Planned Parenthood announced it would withdraw from the federal family planning program rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule banning referrals to doctors who can perform abortions, The New York Times reports.
Planned Parenthood withdrew from the Title X program, which provides the organization about $60 million in annual funding for birth control and health services for poor women. The funds had been used to provide more than 1.5 million low-income women with services like pregnancy tests, birth control, cancer screening, and sexually transmitted disease testing each year. In some rural communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider for such services.
“When you have an unethical rule that will limit what providers can tell our patients, it becomes really important that we not agree to be in the program,” said acting Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson.
The Department of Health and Human Services said that the group refused to comply with the rule and “are now blaming the government for their own actions.”
“They are abandoning their obligations to serve their patients under the program,” the agency said in a statement.
States like Utah, Minnesota hit hardest:
Planned Parenthood receives more Title X funding than any other group and provides services for 40% of all Title X patients. In some states, like Utah, it is the only organization that receives Title X funding. In Minnesota, it serves 90% of Title IX patients.
Planned Parenthood said patients in those states may face long waiting times to get appointments.
Trump pushes religious conservative policies:
“The Trump administration has steadily shifted federal health programs toward conservative preferences like promoting abstinence in teen pregnancy prevention programs and allowing exemptions to insurance coverage of birth control for employers with religious objections,” The New York Times reported.
But this latest move will fall far short of conservatives’ goals.
“Withdrawing from Title X will not deprive Planned Parenthood of all government funding, a longtime goal of many conservatives. Figures from Planned Parenthood’s 2017-18 annual report showed that the organization received about $500 million from Medicaid, the joint federal and state health care program for low income people. Federal funds cover most of that spending,” The Times reported.