The Trump Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will grant 10 Planned Parenthood affiliates taxpayer funding for family planning amid weighing a new rule that would eliminate grants to providers that do not clearly separate family planning services from abortion.
In a press release Thursday, HHS’s Office of Population Affairs (OPA) announced the list of 96 grantees who will receive the Title X family planning funds for fiscal year 2018.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to continue providing access to high-quality family planning and related preventive health services with an emphasis on overall health and well-being of every person,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir, M.D. “This vital public health program makes important contributions toward achieving optimal health outcomes for the women and men who depend on it.”
According to HHS, the Title X program provides family planning services for some four million people, most of them low-income women. The program’s statute prohibits its funds from being used “in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
In May, the Trump administration proposed a new regulation, dubbed the Protect Life Rule, that would cut family planning funding from abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, that promote abortion and refer women for the procedure as a method of family planning. The public comment period on the new rule recently ended.
The new rule also requires Title X recipients to both abide by all state and local laws that mandate the reporting of child sexual abuse, and to document that they have made those reports.
The abortion industry is referring to the new rule as a “domestic gag rule” because it prohibits abortion facilities from referring family planning patients for abortions.
In response to the protest of 15 governors who have rejected the new rule, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, “This gag rule is so unethical, it is forcing quality health care providers to withdraw from the Title X program. President Trump and HHS Secretary Azar must listen to the health care community and withdraw this harmful rule, before it’s too late.”
According to the Washington Examiner, Laguens said about the inclusion of Planned Parenthood in the 2018 Title X list of grantees, that HHS is “further reinforcing the fact that Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider in the Title X program.”
The American Medical Association (AMA) has also come out against the new rule.
James Madara, M.D., the organization’s CEO and executive vice president, stated in a letter to HHS the proposed changes “would undermine patients’ access to high-quality medical care and information” and “jeopardize public health.”
However, Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the news of Planned Parenthood affiliates receiving the family planning funds “underscores the need for the Protect Life Rule.”
“The American people are opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion, but for years, their will – expressed in the statute itself – has been ignored,” Quigley said in a statement sent to Breitbart News. “The abortion industry has used Title X as a slush fund. While it will take some time for HHS to review the comments and implement the final Protect Life Rule, we fully expect that once it is implemented all grantees will be required to come into compliance. At which point, Title X grantees will be required to be both physically and financially separated from abortion businesses.”
Quigley also emphasized that, with the new rule, Title X funding is not reduced.
“Rather, it makes room for women and families to receive the life-affirming health care they deserve from thousands of willing providers,” she added. “This is smart politics and sound policy.”
The proposed rule would redirect Title X funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, who choose not to have separate facilities for abortions and family planning services, to other federally qualified healthcare facilities that provide more expansive services. Such facilities outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics, 20 to 1. Any individual who would have chosen a Title X abortion facility for regular health care and family planning services can find another center at getyourcare.org.
Alternately, family planning clinics can be found at the OPA website.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, also regretted that Planned Parenthood “was able to consume scarce taxpayer resources for so long, marketing abortion next to birth control, making money if it worked or if it did not.”
“It’s long overdue to separate family planning services from the people who don’t want you to have a family at all,” she told Breitbart News. “I commend the Trump Administration for working to separate the abortion industry from the Title X family planning program. I pray they enact the new ‘Protect Life Rule’ quickly.”
Title X provides funding for contraception – including natural family planning methods – pregnancy testing, services for those planning to become pregnant, infertility services, and screenings for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and breast and cervical cancer.
The program was enacted in 1970 and, in its first year, was appropriated $6,000,000.The total amount appropriated each year from 2015 to 2018 has remained the same at $286,479,000. HHS did not announce the amounts to be distributed to each grantee for 2018.