Trump Administration Moves Toward Banning Planned Parenthood from Receiving Federal Funds

Molly, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

May open door for faith-based family clinics to receive the money instead

The Office of Population Affairs under the Trump administration published on February 22 the final draft of the proposed changes which will effectively bar abortion conducting clinics, including Planned Parenthood, to provide such a service or even mention the procedure. The document in question is 312-pages long and outlines multiple rule changes linked to how Washington distributes the allocated money for Title X, the grant program dedicated to family planning.

As per the new rule, any organization which refers or provides patients to undergo abortions will be ineligible for any Title X funding. The changes will also affect people in need of contraception, STD prevention, and cancer screenings, as these services are all offered at Planned Parenthood clinics.

This rule, first proposed in 2018, is popular with socially conservative Americans, the core voter base for the incumbent president. Federal funding for abortion purposes is already illegal in most cases. Rights activists belonging to the anti-abortion camp have for years asked lawmakers to make an effort to “defund Planned Parenthood.” Their views are that federal funds must not be given to any organization with abortion links. Tom McClusky, the vice-president of March for Life, an anti-abortion group, even claimed the process of abortion could not be included in family planning. The former's services must be separate, and they should have different facilities. According to such groups, the money should instead be sent to faith-centric family clinics.

The Title X program costs about $260 million every year. The money granted is given with the intention to finance birth control, infertility testing, and testing for STDs among others. It was noted by the Department of Health and Human Services that from the time the fund was conceptualized in 1970 it was made clear that money provided under the ambit of Title X could not finance any abortion procedures. The new regulation makes it mandatory for the patient to receive “nondirective pregnancy counseling” and cannot make referrals for abortion. The Title X program now serves four million women every year and all procedures are done through multiple healthcare providers who are recipients of government grants to offer such services.

The new scheme has come under fire from reproductive rights advocates. They claim that such a move constitutes a direct targeting of Planned Parenthood, the organization which administers U.S. family planning clinics and is presently the biggest provider of birth control services funded by the Title X program.

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