On Monday, a Trump Administration rule change forced Planned Parenthood to withdraw from a critical federal grant program that provides health care to 4 million low-income families. The Administration now says groups like Planned Parenthood who receive funding from the Title X program can no longer refer patients to an abortion provider.
“We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients,” said acting Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson said on a conference call Monday. “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.”
Presidential candidate and former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke tweeted out support for Planned Parenthood.
Of the millions of patients who use Title X health centers roughly 40 percent are served by Planned Parenthood. The healthcare nonprofit provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, as well as other important health services unrelated to abortion.
It’s not the only attempt by lawmakers to strip funding from Planned Parenthood.
A new law signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott and set to go in effect Sept. 1 blocks state, county, and city taxpayer money from going to providers like Planned Parenthood who use that funding for other vital healthcare services unrelated to an abortion procedure, like HIV testing and cervical cancer screenings.
At the time the bill was being debated in the legislature, state Rep. Jessica Farrar of Houston said the law was “disguised as an anti-abortion bill, [but really] it’s about cutting off access for people who are uninsured and underinsured.”
“It will actually have the impact of driving up the abortion rate by cutting off birth control services,” she said.
Already, more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics have closed due to restrictive Texas laws that place unfair standards on the healthcare centers.
Photo by Ilana Panich/Reuters