Just lie back and think of Grampa Simpson

The Trump administration has taken another great big step into the 1950s, with a strategy for issuing family planning grants that favors abstinence and the freaking rhythm method over contraception, as part of a strategy to prevent federal dollars from going to Planned Parenthood, even without a formal ban on funding for the group. Isn't that clever?

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines for the issuance of grants under Title X, which used to fund family planning, but now will apparently do whatever it can to increase Americans' chances of having a blessed event whether they want one or not.

The new HHS document makes repeated favorable mention of “natural family planning” — which encompasses the rhythm method and other strategies for avoiding pregnancy without using contraceptives like the birth-control pill. According to HHS, of 100 couples each year that use natural family planning methods, up to 25 women may become pregnant.

Those are pretty good odds! Of not really preventing pregnancy much at all. Planned Parenthood seems to have this crazy idea that the administration is trying to divert money away from parenthood that might be planned. Currently, about 1.6 million of the 4 million beneficiaries of Title X get services at Planned Parenthood, so obviously "less than half" is far too many.

The move is yet another attempt to punish Planned Parenthood for providing abortions, although federal payment for abortion services is already prohibited. Last year, Donald Trump signed a bill to roll back an Obama administration rule that had prevented states from excluding Planned Parenthood from getting Title X funds. Several states, like Arizona, have since done exactly that, because it's better for women to not get health services at all than to get them from evil groups.

The head of HHS's Title X office, Valerie Huber, says she doesn't see why Planned Parenthood is complaining, since all they have to do is apply for grants that comply with the new guidelines.

“It’s impossible to speculate who’s going to get funded,” Huber said. “An objective grant committee looks at every proposal.”

The Associated Press report notes that before getting a government job, Huber

headed Ascend, an advocacy group previously called the National Abstinence Education Association.

That organization opposes comprehensive sex education and advocates that adolescents be urged to practice “sexual risk avoidance” — a concept promoted in the new guidelines.

In the old, unenlightened times, Title X provided contraception to both teens and adults with confidentiality, which undoubtedly led to the kind of whoring around that Donald Trump uses to indulge in before all the evangelicals voted for him as Jesus's Own Candidate. Now, HHS is looking to fund programs for adolescents that, as the guidelines put it,

do not normalize sexual risk behaviors, but instead clearly communicate the research-informed benefits of delaying sex or returning to a sexually risk-free status.

Because as everyone who's learned sex ed from fundamentalists knows, condoms actually cause STDs and spread pregnancy, not to mention sin.

Clare Coleman, the chief executive of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, offered what strikes us as an excessively diplomatic statement of concern about all this, warning the administration's new stance could interrupt a long trend of reduced teen pregnancies:

“We know different administrations have had different approaches,” she said. “But if this announcement indicates a deliberate shift away from Title X being strongly focused on increasing access to contraceptive care to a model more focused on behavior change ... that would be a significant concern to public health.”

Oh, dear, no. That won't do at all, Ms. Coleman. You're too accustomed to talking to reasonable people. You're putting it entirely too mildly. Let's try this: The Trump administration is trying to turn the rest of America into Goddamn Louisiana under Goddamn Bobby Jindal. Louisiana and other states that continue to push abstinence-only have been shown FOR YEARS to have higher teen pregnancy and STI rates than states with comprehensive sex ed.

Add in the fact that HHS's own guidelines acknowledge "natural family planning" might as well be called "Natural Getting Pregnant," and Team Trump might as well change the motto for Title X to "Make America Fecund Again."

On the bright side, sales of Junior Anti-Sex League sashes are bringing in some tidy royalty payments for George Orwell's estate.

Yr Wonkette is fueled by reader donations and sheer whomperjawed disbelief at this shit. Please click here to help us convert our incandescent rage into prose.

[Associated Press]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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