Planned Parenthood has announced that it will withdraw from Title X, a federal program which helps make birth control, pregnancy tests, and screenings for sexual transmitted diseases accessible and affordable. The decision is due to the Trump administration’s new “gag rule,” which restricts what health providers can tell patients about abortion. Under this rule, if Planned Parenthood wanted to continue to receive funds through the program, it would no longer be able to offer abortion referrals or even suggest where a patient could get an abortion.
The Trump administration first introduced the new Title X rules in May, but it wasn’t until last week, when a federal court failed to halt them, that Planned Parenthood decided to pull out of the program.
Planned Parenthood has received Title X funds since the 1970s, but these federal dollars have never been used to fund abortions. And according to The New York Times, “Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million of the $286 million given annually by Title X to about 4,000 health centers providing reproductive health care, as well as screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer, to about four million patients.” Without these resources, more than 1.5 million low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for pregnancy tests, birth control, STI screenings, and other services through Title X support could be affected. The organization has shared that one of their programs, a mobile health center in Cleveland, will have to close and that other clinics will feel similar pressure from the cuts.
“By forcing Planned Parenthood out of the Title X program, Trump is fulfilling his debt to the anti-choice movement—a vocal, extreme minority in this country—for their work to put him in the White House,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue shared in a statement. “Millions of women and families who rely on Planned Parenthood for a full range of reproductive healthcare will be forced to pay the price for political payback by the Trump administration and their reckless Title X gag rule. The decision about when and with whom to have a family is one of the most personal and important decisions a person will ever make, and it’s definitely one that should be free from political interference.”
Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications at EMILY’s List, echoed Hogue’s sentiments. “Since day one, Trump and his Republican cronies have tried to defund Planned Parenthood and strip valuable reproductive care from millions of women. Today, those efforts have real and dangerous consequences for too many women in America. The Trump administration is using one of the largest and most valuable programs for providing affordable birth control and reproductive health care to bully providers, like Planned Parenthood, into withholding information on abortion. As the gag rule takes effect, millions of women will be left with nowhere to turn for essential health care like affordable birth control, cancer screenings, maternal care, and more,” she wrote in a statement.
Supporters of Planned Parenthood have also taken to Twitter to share their outrage. Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke wrote, “Trump is taking tens of millions of dollars away from Planned Parenthood—jeopardizing the health of more than a million people across our country. Please donate to @PPFA today, so Trump can’t stop patients from receiving the care they need.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted, “Trump’s gag rule is forcing Planned Parenthood to withdraw from Title X. Last year alone 53,000 Minnesotans relied on Title X-funded clinics for cancer screenings, well person visits, birth control, and more. Losing access to this care puts lives at risk. Period.”