August 21, 2019

Planned Parenthood Exits Title X Program

“Planned Parenthood said on Monday it was withdrawing from a federal program subsidizing reproductive healthcare for low-income women after the Trump administration banned participants in the program from referring women to abortion providers… the policy [also] requires financial and physical separation between facilities funded by Title X and those where actual abortions are performed.” Reuters

Under the new rule, “Health professionals are free to provide non-directive pregnancy counseling, including counseling on abortion, and are not prohibited in any way from providing medically necessary information to clients. The Final Rule does NOT include the 1988 Regulation’s prohibition on counseling on abortion – characterized by some as a ‘gag rule’ – but neither does it retain the mandate that all grantees MUST counsel on, and refer for, abortion. Referral for abortion as a method of family planning is not permitted, because the statute written by Congress prohibits funding programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

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From the Left

The left is critical of the new rule and argues that it amounts to a gag rule that prevents doctors from providing relevant information to their patients.

The stand-off is a case study in how extreme the tactics of the abortion debate have become. The Trump administration is openly dedicated to kneecapping health-care providers that perform abortions, and Planned Parenthood is its biggest target. Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, would rather take a huge financial hit and wage a high-profile fight with the Trump administration than change its practices. In this political environment, any money or policy that comes close to touching the abortion issue is fair game for war, no matter how many people lose access to health-care services as a result.”
Emma Green, The Atlantic

This is devastating news for the patients who rely on the clinics that have chosen to withdraw from the program, which serves roughly 4 million people (40% of them through Planned Parenthood facilities). Planned Parenthood says it does not plan to close any clinics just yet, but it’s likely to cut back its hours of service. That means contraception and other reproductive healthcare will be harder to come by, particularly in rural areas where the Title X withdrawal will have the most impact. Nor do industry experts believe other community health clinics will pick up the slack, as the Trump administration has predicted. Even if those clinics were willing to try, it would take years for the ones already serving broad populations to be able to take on hundreds of new reproductive care patients.”
Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

“They claim this isn’t a gag rule, but given how broadly the new Title X guidelines are written—‘A Title X project may not perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning’—most providers consider themselves gagged because they can’t risk losing their federal funding over any discussion of abortion… A 2019 report from the Guttmacher Institute put it bluntly: ‘The Trump administration is seeking to transform Title X from an agent of reproductive autonomy to a tool of government-sponsored reproductive coercion.’”
Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

“Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers were given an impossible choice: They could have continued to receive Title X funds, but that would have required them not just to stop providing the safe, legal abortions to which American women are entitled but to refuse to even tell women where they could get legal abortion procedures. That's an unconscionable encroachment on free speech; it effectively gags doctors and nurses from giving patients accurate information about their completely legal health care options…

“Contraception isn't just about preventing pregnancy. When women can make their own decisions about their own bodies and reproductive lives, they are more financially secure. They are physically safer. They have more room to grow and achieve what they want. This is what Title X, and Planned Parenthood, fight for: a universe in which women are the primary decision-makers about their own lives and their own bodies.”
Jill Filipovic, CNN

From the Right

The right supports the rule and criticizes planned parenthood for prioritizing abortion over women’s healthcare.

The right supports the rule and criticizes planned parenthood for prioritizing abortion over women’s healthcare.

“The regulation not only allows doctors to ‘mention’ abortion, it allows ‘nondirective counseling on abortion’ — that is, counseling that doesn’t push a pregnant woman toward an abortion… Is Planned Parenthood really giving up $60 million in federal funding simply because it would have to tell clients to Google the phone number of nearest abortionist, who is often operating down the hall? What’s much more likely is that Planned Parenthood would never comply with the regulation because it also requires physical separation between abortion facilities and grantees that provide contraception under Title X…

“Planned Parenthood is free under the regulation to provide abortion counseling, but it doesn’t want to separate its contraception business from its abortion business, as required by the statute establishing Title X. The new regulation is not simply a meaningful step in the right direction for the pro-life cause, it’s a win for the rule of law.”
John McCormack, National Review

“The Trump administration hasn’t reduced federal funding for the Title X program by a cent… [but] even if contraception access were to decline, it would be evidence not that the Trump administration has gutted Title X but that Planned Parenthood has gutted its own ability to provide health care in order to keep performing abortions. If the group’s executives were serious about women’s health, they would’ve chosen to maintain federal funding, adapting to the rule and financially distinguishing abortion procedures from the rest of the group’s work.”
Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review

“Planned Parenthood [predicts] their withdrawal would create the demise of Title X, but that’s nonsense. The government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on contraception through the program, the kind of demand that creates supply organically. If Planned Parenthood exits the program, other clinics will open to fill the gap — clinics that will comply with the rule not to provide abortion counseling or referrals but stick to contraception, which is Title X’s mission in the first place. There may be some disruption in the short term, but that would be within Planned Parenthood’s power to fixby complying with the rule.”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

Dated but relevant: “When Leana Wen was unceremoniously fired as president of Planned Parenthood, she penned a New York Times op-ed citing two reasons for her ouster: 1) Criticism that she ‘did not prioritize abortion enough.’ 2) Resistance to her ‘attempt to depoliticize Planned Parenthood’…

“Wen was criticized as being not merely apolitical, but too conservative. She envisioned Planned Parenthood transcending partisan politics and finding common ground, but that was seen as ‘mission creep’ by the board and entrenched staff. What exactly is your mission if ‘work[ing] to change the perception that Planned Parenthood was just a progressive political entity and show that it was first and foremost a mainstream health care organization’ constitutes mission creep?”
Katie Glenn, Washington Examiner

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