- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2019

Planned Parenthood made good Monday on its threat to pull out of the Title X family-planning program, leaving about $60 million on the table rather than comply with the Trump administration’s newly enacted restrictions on abortion funding.

Planned Parenthood said it was “forced out” of the Title X grant program, although the decision to leave was voluntary, prompted by the administration’s decision to ban abortion referrals and require a “clear financial and physical separation” on abortion for grant recipients.

“The Trump administration’s gag rule will reverberate across the country,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s acting president. “This reality will hit hardest people struggling to make ends meet — including those people in rural areas and communities of color.”

The Title X program, which gave $286 million in grants this year to clinics that provide family-planning services to low-income patients, serves about 4 million clients, 40% of whom receive care from Planned Parenthood facilities, according to the organization.

Pro-life groups cheered Planned Parenthood’s decision to exit Title X, saying the funding could now be redirected to community health centers that do not promote or perform abortions, which outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by 20 to 1, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

“It’s a great day for women’s health in America,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life. “Planned Parenthood is America’s deadliest nonprofit, and the news that they’re refusing to accept taxpayer funds to target vulnerable women is a good thing for women’s health.”

The $60 million in Title X grants represents about 11% of Planned Parenthood’s annual $564 million in federal funding, according to the organization’s fiscal year 2017-18 report, and less than 4% of its annual $1.66 billion in total revenue. Most of the group’s federal money comes via Medicaid.

Planned Parenthood Action has already launched a campaign against the “gag rule,” saying it will “prevent patients from getting full and accurate information,” and urging Congress to “end domestic and global gag rules.”

Democrats in Congress re-upped their opposition to the Trump rule, with Reps. Nita Lowey of New York and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut saying in a joint statement that it “undermines the very purpose of the Title X program, which is to allow millions of women and men to access basic family planning services.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, tweeted, “Losing access to this care puts lives at risk. Period.”

Planned Parenthood’s decision to leave Title X came after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted injunctions stopping the Department of Health and Human Services rule from going into effect, and then rejected last month Planned Parenthood’s appeal.

The court ruled that the abortion restrictions represented a “reasonable interpretation” of the Title X statute as well as the federal government’s interest in preventing taxpayer dollars from funding or subsidizing abortions, as required under the Hyde Amendment.

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, warned that those who depend on its clinics “may be left with nowhere to turn,” while Students for Life of America said the “Pro-Life generation knows that there are better options for women.”

“Planned Parenthood is trying to create a media frenzy over their willingness to walk away from $60 million if they can’t push an abortion sale on every women who visits them,” said SLA President Kristan Hawkins.

She said Planned Parenthood’s exit represents “a post-Roe milestone as women will learn for themselves that they don’t need Planned Parenthood.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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