The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected efforts to stop the Trump administration from banning abortion referrals at federally funded health clinics on Friday, and on Monday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America made good on its threat to withdraw as a Title X family planning recipient rather than comply with the new rule.
Planned Parenthood receives millions of dollars every year from Title X family planning reimbursements and grants.
Although federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion, until now the nation’s largest abortion provider (332,757 abortions reported in its latest annual report) has been able to claim federal funding did not fall under the abortion services side of the organization.
Politico reported the development will mean low-income women might not have access to abortion and provided Planned Parenthood’s defiant reaction:
“We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients,” said acting President Alexis McGill Johnson on a call with reporters.
The decision marks a partial victory for Republican lawmakers who have been trying to defund the organization. But while Planned Parenthood gets about $60 million a year under Title X, it receives far more from Medicaid. It also gets funding from other federal and state programs to combat HIV and provide sexual education to teenagers.
The organization has said for months it wouldn’t operate under the Trump rule, which also requires clinics to refer pregnant patients for pre-natal care, regardless of the woman’s wishes. And while it’s been illegal for decades to use any federal funding for abortions, the new rule also bars clinics that get Title X money from providing abortions using other funding sources.
But pro-life groups are hailing Planned Parenthood’s and other abortion providers’ withdrawal from Title X, administered through Heath and Human Services (HHS).
“It’s a great day for women’s health in America,” Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood is America’s deadliest nonprofit, and the news that they’re refusing to accept taxpayer funds to target vulnerable women is a good thing for women’s health.”
“Women deserve the chance to live empowered, full lives that are free from the harm that Planned Parenthood poses through abortion and abortion-focused services,” Glenn Foster said. “Women who need true health care will have their needs met by authentic and eager healthcare providers across America.”
“Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, today made a choice not to separate its abortion operation from Title X services, and in doing declined Title X funding, which makes up approximately four percent of their annual budget,” Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said in a statement.
“Abortion is neither health care nor family planning and taxpayer dollars should not support abortion,” Mancini said. “Leana Wen’s recent firing and Planned Parenthood’s decision today doubles down on their ultimate goal, which is political abortion advocacy, not health care.”
“Planned Parenthood—which reported nearly $245 million in excess revenue for 2017-2018—has unsurprisingly chosen abortion over participating in the federal family planning program,” Melanie Israel, a research associate at the Heritage Foundation said in a statement. “The abortion giant is willing to forgo approximately $60 million in federal funds.”
“Meanwhile, the qualified grantees who are willing to comply with provisions that ensure statutory and programmatic integrity will continue offering Americans with health care services they need,” Israel said.
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