As of August 19, 2019, the Trump administration has effectively forced Planned Parenthood to remove itself from receiving Title X funding, which allows nearly 4 million people access to affordable birth control and additional reproductive health care resources, including abortions. Of that 4 million, nearly 1.5 million are low-income women, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Due to the courts' inability to block the Trump administration's "gag rule," which makes it illegal for Planned Parenthood—and any of the other organizations receiving Title X funding—to advise patients on how they can safely receive an abortion, Planned Parenthood is unable to continue to receive funding. The organization refuses to comply with the administration's unethical and dangerous goal for women to have zero control over their bodies.
"Today, the Trump admin is forcing us out of the Title X program—our nation's program focused on family planning, of which we serve 40% of patients," Planned Parenthood tweeted. "This is a *direct attack* on Planned Parenthood and on our health and rights, and we will not stand for it."
As put in a New York Times report on the news, the restriction would force Planned Parenthood to withhold medical information from patients, interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, and could deny pregnant women the range of options available to them.
For the past 50 years, Title X has ensured every person has access to basic reproductive healthcare, regardless of where they live or how much money they make. Planned Parenthood health centers make up just 13 percent of Title X centers, according to its website, but they serve 41 percent of all Title X patients.
This is a huge blow for our country, but Planned Parenthood believes it has no other choice but to remove itself from Title X funding after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Trump's gag rule to go into effect. The United States Department of Health and Human Services warned PP that if they did not comply by today, they would be forced out of the program.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Acting President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson released the following statement assuring patients that PP will not stop fighting for us:
“I want our patients to know: while the Trump administration may have given up on you, Planned Parenthood never will. Our doors are open today, and our doors will be open tomorrow. The Trump administration’s gag rule will reverberate across the country. This reality will hit hardest people struggling to make ends meet—including those people in rural areas and communities of color.
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. Health care shouldn’t come down to how much you earn, where you live, or who you are. Congress must act now. It’s time for the U.S. Senate to act to pass a spending bill that will reverse the harmful rule and restore access to birth control, STD testing, and other critical services to people with low-incomes. People’s lives depend on it.”
As McGill mentions above, there's still hope for the Senate to pass a spending bill (more on that here), which repeals the Title X gag rule, but it's up to us to urge our Senators to make this a priority. Still, funding is a worry. Planned Parenthood acknowledged that, without money from Title X, clinics will feel the impact. It's already been announced that at least one clinic in Ohio will close. Personal donations will become more important than ever before.
Consider donating to Planned Parenthood, below, if you have the means. Donations will help keep these clinics open, providing a safe and supportive environment for people in all communities across the country. American citizens shouldn't have to take this issue into their own hands, but it seems to be the only way we can remain in control of our own bodies.
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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