Politics & Policy

Planned Parenthood Says It Will Be Forced to Leave Federal Family-Planning Program Barring Court Intervention

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Planned Parenthood plans to withdraw next week from Title X, the country’s family-planning program for low-income patients, over a Trump administration rule barring groups who provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving Title X funds.

The organization on Wednesday asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to halt what abortion-rights advocates have dubbed the “domestic gag rule,” while it fights the rule in court. It said that it will otherwise be forced to leave the Title X program on August 19, the Department of Health and Human Services’ deadline for demonstrating “good-faith efforts to comply” with the rule.

The rule states that “none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning” and emphasizes that there must be “physical and financial separation” between abortion services and groups receiving funding.

The Ninth Circuit allowed the rule to go into effect in June after lower courts had temporarily halted its implementation it.

Planned Parenthood has warned that low-income patients may be left without family-planning services and says it sees close to 41 percent of patients who receive such services under Title X.

“We refuse to let the Trump administration bully us into withholding abortion information from our patients. The gag rule is unethical and dangerous, and we will not subject our patients to it,” read a statement Wednesday from Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s acting president. “Unless the Ninth Circuit intervenes, this gag rule will destroy the Title X program — putting birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment at risk for millions of people struggling to make ends meet.”

Meanwhile, pro-life groups have praised the rule and objected to the idea that it siphons money from family-planning services.

“The Protect Life Rule doesn’t cut a single dime from family planning. It instead directs tax dollars to Title X centers that do not promote or perform abortions” the Susan B. Anthony List said in a statement in May of last year. “President Trump has shown decisive leadership, delivering on a key promise to pro-life voters who worked so hard to elect him.”

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