Trump Fails To Gag Planned Parenthood
This past February, the Trump administration instituted a gag rule banning any organization that receives Title X funds from having anything to do with performing abortions or counseling patients about abortion. This means that if you are one of the four million low-income people who receive reproductive health care through Title X funds, you cannot discuss the option of abortion with your own doctor. That is pretty messed up!
Planned Parenthood agrees. Now that a judge has allowed the rule to go into effect while it is being challenged by Planned Parenthood, the American Medical Association, and several other groups, Planned Parenthood says it will stop taking federal funding. Time to get our our checkbooks, America!
In a statement, Jacqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations & public policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the organization is refusing to comply with what critics call a "gag rule" and instead has stopped using Title X dollars.
"It is unethical and dangerous to require health care providers to withhold important information from patients," Ayers' statement said. "During this period of limbo while we wait for the court to rule, our affiliates are not using federal Title X funds to provide care. We are continuing to fight this illegal rule in court and to provide care to all people — no matter what."
And they aren't the only ones. George Hill, President and CEO of Maine Family Planning, has also announced that they will not be taking Title X funds until the gag rule is struck down.
"This rule is so onerous and arrogant that we simply cannot accept the federal funds with these limitations on them and provide what we believe is the full range of reproductive healthcare services that our patients deserve," Hill said.
The Trump administration's plan is for the $286 million in Title X funds to be "redirected" to faith-based programs like Crisis Pregnancy Centers, because apparently "telling people not to have abortions" is a costly production. (This reminds us of when Vice President Mike Pence, who at the time was running for Congress, proposed that all AIDS funding be diverted to ex-gay therapy.) Crisis pregnancy centers must need lots of money to spend on deceptive posters meant to confuse people into thinking that they actually do provide abortion services, and Kinko's is not cheap these days.
The thing is, Title X doesn't fund abortion, and these faith-based programs do not provide any of the things that Title X is supposed to be funding, other than pregnancy tests, which are a thing one can get at the dollar store. They don't provide birth control, STI tests, mammograms, or any of that. So if you're not actually pregnant, they can't do much for you. And if you are pregnant, they can't do much for you either!
And while the Right may be cheering about Planned Parenthood getting defunded, they may be disappointed when they find out that people can still find out that abortion exists and is an option without needing to discuss it with their doctor. So really, all they are accomplishing here is, uh, depriving poor people of birth control, STI tests, mammograms and all the other things that Title X actually does fund, on the off-chance that there will be one or two people out there with no idea that they can have abortions if their doctor doesn't discuss it with them. Great plan, guys!
Oh! And making it so that more abortions actually do happen in the long run. As I explained back in February, gag rules have been proven to result in more abortions:
A recent study out of Rutgers shows that the global gag rule has resulted in more abortions, not fewer. In fact, as a result of Bush's Mexico City Policy (which was less strict than Trump's), women in Latin America had three times as many abortions as they did before or after. The same phenomenon has been observed in Kenya under the Trump administration's rule. Why? Because there were fewer family planning services available to lower-income women. Duh.
Shockingly enough, birth control prevents more abortions than telling people not to have abortions does.
About 40 percent of Title X recipients rely on Planned Parenthood for reproductive care. One hundred percent of those recipients can find out that abortion exists all on their own, and can probably find someone to tell them that abortion is bad for free. This is not going to work out well, but hopefully this won't be the case for too long, so long as we kick this motherfucker's ass out of the White House in November.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse