Planned Parenthood set to lose millions in government funding
Matthias Browning

Matthias Browning

Planned Parenthood could lose its federal funding dedicated to funding family planning over new rules required by the Trump administration. America’s largest abortion provider has been in the Title X program for many decades and receives almost $60 million in funding from the program each year.

Planned Parenthood told a federal court last Wednesday that it will officially leave the program if the changes, which bars grant recipients from making referrals for abortions, are allowed to move forward.

In early July, the Trump administration announced that its long-delayed changes to the program, called Title X, would take effect immediately. Under the new rules, providers must also financially separate any services that involve abortions from those that don’t. The changes also require clinics to physically separate abortion-related services from any other services clinics may offer, starting next year.

Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act, amending the Public Health Service Act. Title X of that law provides funding for family planning services, including contraception and family planning information. The law had support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Nixon described Title X funding as based on the premise that “no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”

Donors to Planned Parenthood have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Buffett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Turner Foundation, the Cullman and others. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s contributions to the organization have been specifically marked to avoid funding abortions.

Some donors, such as the Buffett Foundation, have supported reproductive health that can include abortion services.

Late in 2016, the Obama administration issued a rule effective in January 2017 banning U.S. states from withholding federal family-planning funds from health clinics that give abortions, including Planned Parenthood affiliates; this rule mandates that local and state governments give federal funds for services related to sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy care, fertility, contraception, and breast and cervical cancer screening to qualified health providers whether or not they give abortions. However, this rule was blocked by a federal judge the day before it would have taken effect. In 2017, it was overturned by new legislation.

While it is not clear if losing Title X money will force Planned Parenthood clinics to close, without Title X, it is expected that patients will face longer wait times as opening times wil be reduced. If Title-X funded Planned Parenthood clinics do close, other clinics that receive Title X money would have to increase their caseloads to cover the gap.

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