Planned Parenthood says it will withdraw from the Department of Health and Human Services’s Title X program, which sends taxpayer money to give birth control to poorer Americans, unless a federal court rules on their behalf.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration passed a new federal rule that requires recipients of federal birth control funds to prove they are financially and physically separating those funds from abortion, and “prohibits the use of Title X funds to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”
As the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood previously received around $50 to $60 million from the $287 million Title X program each year. The abortion business sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, hoping for the new rule to be overturned. Planned Parenthood says it will be forced to pull out on Aug. 19 if the court does not intervene.
In the lawsuit against HHS, in which Planned Parenthood is a plaintiff, the abortion provider argues the new Title X rule imposes “burdensome and costly impediments to the provision of services,” which would “substantially reduce the ability to provide those services.”
A spokesman from HHS’s Office of Population Affairs (OPA) said this claim demonstrates Planned Parenthood prioritizes abortion referrals over making the changes necessary to receive taxpayer funds for other birth prevention services.
“Like all Title X providers, Planned Parenthood has the option to comply with the 2019 Title X Final Rule, which faithfully implement the statutes, and continue to receive federal funding,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman also said OPA is working with all grantees of the program to assist them in complying with the requirements of the new rule, and if Planned Parenthood does withdraw, they will “follow standard grants management procedures where possible.”
Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s acting president, told NPR that this may make her organization’s services more expensive and less efficient.
“Imagine if you show up as a patient to a health center and the doctor’s only ability is to refer you to prenatal care, and you may have already decided that you want to have an abortion,” McGill Johnson said. “Federal regulations will ban that doctor from actually giving you advice and referring you to abortion.”
Planned Parenthood has received funding from Title X since the early 1970s, but as Yuval Levin points out, ever since then the group has found a way to skirt laws preventing taxpayer-funded abortions. “Title X is not supposed to make funds available to abortion providers, but Planned Parenthood gets around the legal prohibition by formally separating its abortion clinics and its other family planning services, even when those are located in the same facility and essentially funded jointly,” Levin writes.
Mallory Quigley, the spokeswoman for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have treated Title X as a slush fund for too long: “Planned Parenthood’s refusal to comply with this simple regulation demonstrates yet again just how committed they are to performing abortions – they commit over 300,000 every year.”