As expected, Planned Parenthood announced this week that it was pulling out of Title X, a federal family planning program. The President Donald Trump administration in February announced a new “gag rule” that was widely viewed as being designed to force the group out over its support for abortion rights and redirect funds to faith-based, anti-abortion organizations.
Under the rule, family planning clinics receiving federal funds can no longer refer patients for abortion. They maintain a “clear physical and financial separation” between government-funded services and any organization that provides abortions or abortion referrals. Groups receiving Title X money already were barred using it for abortions.
The $286 million Title X program serves roughly 4 million people annually. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced in March she joined with 20 other attorneys general to challenge the constitutionality of Trump’s rule.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan said that it serves almost 70% of low-income people accessing affordable birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing, cancer screenings and more through Title X. The health care organization saw more than 42,000 people through the program in 2018.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan President and CEO Lori Carpentier said that the organization has participated in Title X since its inception in Michigan.
“We have been proud to do this work and have exhibited our commitment to it by stepping in to offer care – often with private resources – when local public health departments have chosen to discontinue programs,” she said.
“… Unfortunately, the new gag rule that is being enforced by the Trump-[Mike] Pence administration makes it impossible to provide comprehensive care and information to our patients consistent with medical ethics and our evidence-based standards of care. We refuse to let the Trump administration bully us into withholding abortion information from our patients in Michigan. The gag rule is unethical and dangerous, and we will not subject our patients to it.”
New interim president of both the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Alexis McGill Johnson talked with the Michigan Advance last month about the impact of the gag rule.
“We’re pointing out that patients all over the state of Michigan will be denied access to care through the funding of Title X that provides contraceptive care to patients,” McGill Johnson said.