Former Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards said on Friday that President Donald Trump’s proposed rule to cut Title X family planning funding from organizations that provide abortions would prevent women from knowing that abortion is legal and available in the United States.
Richards, who just stepped down after serving for 12 years as the president of Planned Parenthood, said the rule “gags providers from even helping women [know] about abortion or even telling women that it’s legal or that it’s available in this country.”
Richards made the remarks in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) in which she called the rule “extreme” and argued it would hurt women, even if female unborn babies made up 50 percent or more of the 321,384 aborted, according to Planned Parenthood’s annual report for 2016-2017.
NPR’s Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep asked Richards to explain the rule’s impact.
“It would basically impose new rules, from what we understand, that were designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control and other preventive services such as cancer screening, et cetera from our reproductive health care providers,” Richards said.
“It would mean that doctors and nurses and hospitals and all kinds of community health centers could no longer talk to women about abortion or could refer their patients for abortion services,” Richards said.
The Federalist, however, reported this interpretation is incorrect:
If implemented, this rule change would require abortion providers to prove there is a “bright line of physical as well as financial separation” between abortion services and other services. It would also prohibit facilities that receive Title X funds from referring patients to specific abortion centers, although it would not bar employees from counseling women about abortion in general.
In the interview with NPR, Richards called the rule “a gag order,” while acknowledging Planned Parenthood receives the most federal dollars — as much as $60 million of the $287 million Title X annual funding, according to the Federalist.
Richard told NPR that the federal funding was insufficient for the money needed to operate Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry, saying it is “so ironic because, of course, the family planning program pays so little that organizations like Planned Parenthood have to raise money to actually subsidize the family planning program.”
Richards said in the NPR interview that defunding Planned Parenthood would hurt women who need access to its services.
But according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, publicly funded community centers provide much more care to low-income Americans than Planned Parenthood, the National Catholic Reporter reported last year.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, such health centers are publicly funded and exist in all 50 states, almost 10,000 in total, compared to around 650 Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide. The health centers served more than 24 million people in 2015, while Planned Parenthood says it serves around 2.5 million per year.
These health centers do not perform abortions, but they do provide services like prenatal and perinatal care, diabetes screening, pap smears, checkups and mammograms, something Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has admitted her centers do not provide, despite claims that they do. Planned Parenthood only provides referrals for mammograms, not the procedures themselves.
And while Planned Parenthood repeats annually that abortions make up only three percent of the services provided, in 2016 CNSNews.com reported the staggering number of aborted babies tallied through a review of its annual reports on the occasion of its centennial anniversary:
Planned Parenthood Federation of America marked its 100th birthday on Oct. 16, the day in 1916 that eugenicist Margaret Sanger opened the first “birth control” clinic in Brooklyn. Since 1978, Planned Parenthood, which is America’s largest abortion provider, has ended the lives of approximately 6,803,782 babies.
To put that number (6,803,782 abortions) in perspective, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the combined populations of Los Angeles and Chicago in 2015 was 6,692,379.
Richards, however, claimed in the NPR interview that cutting funding for Planned Parenthood would hurt Americans, women in particular.
“This kind of rule that basically pushes women back in the shadows, doesn’t provide them information or health care will only mean that the unintended pregnancy rate will go up,” Richards said.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter