The San Francisco Chronicle
Planned Parenthood made a difficult but principled decision to reject federal grants that came with an untenable condition: that participants in the program known as Title X could not refer women for abortions.
The Trump administration’s new rules on Title X funding represent an outrageous intrusion of politics into reproductive decisions. Planned Parenthood has always maintained that patients should be presented with a full range of medical options. That also was federal policy - until now.
Under the new rules, organizations that receive Title X funding would be able to discuss abortion with patients, but could not refer them to an abortion provider or even let them know where the procedure is available. The Trump administration is layering additional requirements including restrictions on which staff members can discuss abortion with patients and forcing clinics to financially and physically separate themselves from facilities that provide abortions.
One of the effects of the new policy is that it opens Title X funding to faith-based organizations that do not want to tell patients about all reproductive options, including abortion.
Planned Parenthood, the largest recipient of Title X funding at $60 million a year, must now scramble for other revenue sources in order to maintain services such as birth control, pregnancy testing and the screening for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases it provides to more than 1.5 million women each year.
Ever so predictably, the Trump administration has been trying to suggest that Planned Parenthood and other women’s-health groups - rather than a new government policy - should be to blame for jeopardizing these services. “They are abandoning their obligations to serve their patients under the program,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Monday.
This policy needs to be reversed, whether by legal action (California has joined other states in a lawsuit) or congressional legislation. It’s shameful and dangerous to play politics with women’s health.