The Trump administration’s Health and Human Services Department will announce a new proposal this week to remove Title X funding from health-care providers that perform abortion procedures. The policy, as described in our editorial last week, is an effort to bring administrative policy in line with existing legislation, which already stipulates that federal dollars cannot be used to fund abortion.
The resounding backlash from abortion-rights groups has been, predictably, both vicious and deceptive. Activists have incorrectly labeled the new policy a “gag rule,” despite the fact that it will explicitly permit health-care providers to discuss abortion with patients (though it disallows direct abortion referrals).
The most interesting part of the proposal and backlash, though, has been the way in which it reveals an inconsistency at the heart of Planned Parenthood’s rhetoric and marketing strategy. For decades now, the group and its leaders have insisted that Planned Parenthood deserves federal funding because it’s just a run-of-the-mill health-care provider. In fact, they continually protest, abortion makes up just 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s business.
The group’s reaction to this policy — and the corresponding outrage from Planned Parenthood’s allies in the abortion-rights movement — puts the lie to that notion. According to a White House source, the HHS rule will allow health-care providers to retain federal funds as long as they financially separate abortion provision from the rest of their business. If abortion is truly just 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does — and if, as its leaders allege, its other services are truly irreplaceable — surely it wouldn’t be too much of a strain to financially separate abortion and retain Title X funding for the rest of its work.
But that isn’t going to happen. Just after the 2016 election, Ivanka Trump proposed a compromise like this one to Cecile Richards, then president of Planned Parenthood, and Richards swiftly refused, saying that Ivanka didn’t understand how central abortion is to Planned Parenthood’s mission.
It was intensely revealing then, and it remains revealing now. This new policy crystallizes what the pro-life movement has long known and said about Planned Parenthood: It is, first and foremost, an abortion corporation.
The 3 percent statistic, for example, has been debunked by mainstream sources such as the Washington Post and Slate — it’s an apparent mathematical sleight of hand used by the group to downplay its involvement in abortion. Last year alone, Planned Parenthood performed more than 321,000 abortions, making it the largest abortion provider in the country, by far.
And that’s why the group won’t financially separate abortion from the rest of its business — even if doing so would allow them to continue receiving Title X funding under the new policy. Planned Parenthood exists to profit from abortion.
If it didn’t, it would take the compromise being offered by the Trump administration. That they refuse tells us all we need to know.