Trump Administration May Hurt Women’s Healthcare With New Rules Attempting To Limit Abortion
The Trump Administration has announced its latest plan to limit federal funding to family planning facilities and in it, clinics that provide abortions would be denied federal Title X family planning funds.
The proposed plan has been met with great support from anti-abortion groups and distress from women’s clinics across the country. Organizations that offer abortions, including Planned Parenthood, would not be eligible for Title X federal funding unless they are done at separate offices by a separate staff.
The White House claimed in its announcement that this plan meets President Donald Trump’s promise to “continue to improve women’s health.” However, cutting funds to clinics that provide abortions – and potentially ones that refer women to places that do – results in overall cuts to the myriad of other healthcare services these places provide including general healthcare, HIV, cancer and STD screening, hormone therapy, patient education and even men’s healthcare.
Planned Parenthood is the largest – and in some locations, only – provider of Title X services, and it is not unfamiliar with attempts to cut its federal funding. While White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the proposal “would ensure that taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions” in a statement, the Hyde Amendment has long forbidden that from happening anyway. Planned Parenthood officials said Title X federal funds are separate from funds used to provide abortions, and frequent audits have shown this.
The organization, which serves 41 percent of the 4 million patients who receive Title X healthcare, could still stand to lose $60 million annually should this proposal come to pass. Susan Buchanan, chief executive of the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center in Colorado, told the Washington Post that 20 percent of the clinic’s budget comes from Title X funding and the proposal would force them “to make a Hobbesian choice” between the 10 percent of their patients who receive abortions and the rest of their clients.
Buchanan also stated clinics like hers have helped the teen pregnancy rate in Colorado drop by 50 percent and have reduced unwanted pregnancies dramatically, and this progress would be jeopardized.
Before the proposed rule was even officially announced, more than 200 members of Congress have written to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar condemning the proposed rule, while 194 Republicans encouraged Azar to bring about the Reagan-era changes. Lawmakers on both sides of the debate are prepared for a legal battle.
The proposal was submitted to the White House budget office on Thursday for review, but would take several months to take effect.