August 21, 2019

Planned Parenthood Exits Title X Program

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“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.” HHS.gov

See past issues

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

“The main question about the strike isn’t moral or even legal—it’s strategic. Soleimani was a supremely powerful leader of a state apparatus, with his own cult of personality, but he was not a terror kingpin. His death doesn’t decapitate anything. He had the blood of tens of thousands of people—overwhelmingly fellow Muslims—on his hands, but he was only the agent of a government policy that preceded him and will continue without him…The only reason to kill Soleimani is to enter a new war that the United States can win… [Yet] No one seems to have thought past the action itself…

“What would [a] war [with Iran] look like? How will Iran fight it? How will the U.S. respond? What credible allies will we have, after Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal thoroughly alienated Europe? Who will believe any intelligence about Iran’s actions and intentions from an administration that can’t function without telling lies?…What is our war aim, and how can it be aligned with Trump’s obvious desire to be rid of any entanglement in the region? What will happen if Jerusalem becomes a target and Israel enters the conflict? What will the American people accept by way of sacrifice, when nothing has prepared them for this? There’s no sign that anyone in power, least of all the president, has even asked these questions, let alone knows how to answer them.”
George Packer, The Atlantic

“By declaring that the United States will respond with airstrikes to any attacks on American targets or assets, Mr. Trump is drawing a bright red line that Iran cannot cross. And yet, Iran relies on a network of proxy actors from Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Must they all respect Mr. Trump’s red line? There are plenty of hotheads in those proxy forces that will be incensed by the assassination, the same way young men with weapons and minimal discipline often are… Mr. Trump can’t keep an entire region from crossing his red line, making violent conflict all the more likely if the president holds to it…

“It is crucial that influential Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell remind Mr. Trump of his promise to keep America out of foreign quagmires and keep Mr. Trump from stumbling further into war with Iran.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

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

From the Right

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

It’s worth noting that “conservative ideas were much more popular when not associated with the Republican party. In Washington State, voters narrowly rejected bringing affirmative action back to state contracting and university admissions…

“In Seattle, the self-proclaimed socialist city-council member appears to have lost her seat to a pro-business challenger. In Colorado, voters gave fiscal conservatives a big win by rejecting letting the state keep any tax revenues above the state spending cap, money that the state Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights currently guarantees as refunds to taxpayers. In Sussex County, N.J., voters approved, by a 2-to-1 margin, a referendum directing the local freeholder board to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Washington, Colorado, New Jersey — notice these are places where Republican candidates have had no luck lately.)”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush derided ‘nation building’ and said American foreign policy should be ‘humble’ rather than ‘arrogant.’ As president, Bush brought us the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… While running for president in 2007, Barack Obama rejected the idea that the president has the authority to wage war without congressional authorization whenever he thinks it is in the national interest… As president, Obama did that very thing in Libya… A few years before his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said the U.S. should withdraw immediately from Afghanistan… As president, he sent more troops to Afghanistan…

“Three men with little or no foreign policy experience entered an office where they were surrounded by experts, and they quickly shed their initial skepticism of military intervention… we should worry about a president with little knowledge of the world whose military decisions are driven by anger or domestic political considerations. But it's not clear to me that such a president poses a bigger danger than the experts who have been disastrously wrong more times than we can count.”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.