The number one question on the FAQ page of Planned Parenthood’s website is, where does the funding come from? Not surprisingly, the website shows that the largest chunk of funding flows in from the government in the form of reimbursements and grants.
According to the Planned Parenthood website, two government programs provide funding for the organization: Medicaid and Title X Family Planning program.
The latter program—Title X—will soon be excluded from Planned Parenthood’s list, which will affect over 600 of Planned Parenthood’s centers.
286 Million Dollars Will be Redirected to Organizations that do not Perform Abortions
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a revised version of the Title X Family Planning Program. What’s important about this revision is that money originally allocated for Planned Parenthood will now be redirected to organizations that do not perform abortions.
This means that the 286 million dollars allocated to this program yearly and dispersed amongst organizations will no longer reach Planned Parenthood and other organizations that refer patients for abortions. Planned Parenthood receives approximately $60 million annually from this program.
Title X was created in the 1970s to provide lower-income residents with access to affordable contraceptives and other reproductive health care services such as well-woman exams, cancer screenings, testing and treatments for STIs.
According to Planned Parenthood, more than four million Americans rely on Title X—and close to 1.6 million get their care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Meaning, if there is a lack of funding at Planned Parenthood centers, where will 1.6 million patients go? This could result in a potential influx of casework for other facilities that will continue to receive funding from this program.
Revisions Create a “Gag” Order on Medical Professionals
Leana Wen, The president of Planned Parenthood, responded to the revisions as “unconscionable and unethical.” She went on to say in a statement that dozens of physician groups, nursing associations, and public health leaders are against the new revisions and that politicians have “no role in the exam room”.
“Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin,” she said. “It would never happen. Reproductive health care should be no different.”
Mirroring Wen’s comments, critics have called this revision a “gag” order on medical professionals.
As mentioned previously, funding will affect not only Planned Parenthood but also organizations that even refer a patient for an abortion. What this means is that healthcare professionals will not be able to discuss abortion as an option for a patient, nor will they be able to provide any information relating to where an abortion can be performed.
What this will do is limit information that patients receive, thus limiting the choices they will be able to make about their own reproductive health.
The only way for a patient to actually receive information about abortion from a healthcare professional is if the patient herself demands this information.
The Split Between the Left and Right
According to the New York Times, under this revision, the money that was supposed to go to Planned Parenthood will now be directed toward religiously based, anti-abortion organizations. Some of these organizations will provide natural family planning and abstinence counseling.
The actions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have fueled massive debates across the political spectrum.
Conservatives and anti-abortionists are heralding this is a massive win for transparency in relation to where tax money is allocated as well as for the fight against abortion.
Critics of the Title X revision argue that this is an attempt by the Trump administration to indirectly defund Planned Parenthood and make abortions inaccessible to participants of Title X.
And while the left and right argue back and forth about what’s right and what is moral and ethical, millions of potential patients will be affected by the revision of Title X. Whether that be from potential overcrowding of facilities, which will inherently affect the quality of services provided, or by affordable reproductive health care becoming less readily available. But what is most important is that patients will no longer be able to have an honest discourse with their healthcare professional about their options—and that could have dire consequences.