Withdraws 400 participating clinics while forfeiting some $60 million in Title X Funding
WASHINGTON D.C. (Texas Insider Report) We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients said Planned Parenthoods acting President Alexis McGill Johnson announcing that the organization would pull out of the Title X Federal Family Planning Program rather than comply with the Trump Administrations new rule barring federally funded clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood and other major participants in the Title X Program had to either explain their plans to comply with the new rule by midnight Monday or forfeit millions of dollars in federal grants. By withdrawing more than 400 of its participating clinics from the program Planned Parenthoods exit will hinder low-income women in many parts of the country from receiving federally-funded access to abortion referral services and other reproductive health services.
While the group receives approximately $60 million a year through the Title X program 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.
Planned Parenthood serves about 1.6 million of the roughly 4 million low-income women who depend on Title X clinics for such free and subsidized care.
When you have an unethical rule that is asking us to limit what our providers can tell our patients then it becomes really important for us to not agree to be in the program Johnson said.
Vermonts health department also gave notice Monday that it is quitting Title X. The agency relied entirely on Planned Parenthood clinics to provide services under the program.
And Maine Family Planning the sole Title X provider in the state informed HHS that it is withdrawing over the rule.
Its important that we maintain womens rights and access to health care said Vermont GOP Gov. Phil Scott.
The states of Washington Oregon Illinois New York Hawaii and Maryland have also said previously that they wont participate under the new restrictions.
Planned Parenthoods decision marks a partial victory for Republican activists and lawmakers who have been trying to defund the organization for decades.
While its 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.
The organization has said for months it would not operate under the Trump rule which also requires clinics to refer pregnant patients for pre-natal care regardless of the womans wishes.
Johnson declined to answer questions about the precise financial impact of pulling out of Title X but said the outcome will be devastating for low-income women unless the organization can raise enough private funds to make up the loss.
We are committed to keeping our doors open as long as possible. But using fundraising essentially charity to fill in for what should be a federal responsibility is really a challenge. Its like holding an umbrella during a tsunami Johnson said.
Mia Heck director of External Affairs at the Department of Health & Human Services blasted Planned Parenthood and other groups protesting the policy for blaming the government for their own actions.
They are abandoning their obligations to serve their patients under the program Heck said.
HHS served notice last week that providers that didnt show a good faith effort to comply with the policy would be booted from the program.
Planned Parenthood made a late effort last week to freeze the policy change but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California on Friday refused to issue an emergency injunction.
HHS has said it may move to replace providers who quit Title X but many parts of the country have few other groups able to step in. Critics of the new rule say the replacements for Planned Parenthood clinics may be anti-abortion faith-based providers who are newly eligible for federal funding.