Published: Wed, July 17, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Planned Parenthood chief Leana Wen ousted in 'secret meeting'

Planned Parenthood chief Leana Wen ousted in 'secret meeting'

Taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions immediately, the Trump administration said Monday, declaring it will begin enforcing a new regulation hailed by religious conservatives and denounced by medical organizations and women's rights groups.

Wen said on Twitter that while her departure had been in the works for an unspecified amount of time, today's vote happened during a "secret meeting", about which she only learned after the fact.

The rule also stipulates that healthcare centers receiving Title X funds can not be located in the same space as abortion providers, though that provision isn't set to take effect until next year.

This prohibits #TitleX clinics from referring people to abortion providers IF the patient wants.

Title X is a federal grant program, which subsidizes family planning and preventative health services for low income families.

The federation's board, however, made a decision to "double down" on making abortion rights a key priority as the group engages in legal and political battles after some states passed severe restrictions women's ability to terminate pregnancies, Wen said. Since, she has worked in minority voter engagement, co-created racial bias training for Starbucks, in addition to her work for Planned Parenthood.

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Abortions are still legal in the U.S. under federal law, and under the new rule, providers at clinics receiving federal funding will still be able to discuss with patients about abortions, but can not promote it and will not be mandated to counsel patients about abortion.

The rule change will effect family planning clinics that receive federal funding under Title X. The move deals a significant blow to Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion provider and largest beneficiary of Title X funding.

No money has been cut from Title X as a result of this change, and funds will still be available for eligible clinics. For every dollar invested in family planning programs, the government saves about $7 in costs related to Medicaid. They must also now be in separate facilities from abortion providers. According to Planned Parenthood, a primary target of the new rule, "more than four million people rely on affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare services that are funded by Title X".

Although abortion remains politically divisive, the US abortion rate has dropped significantly, from about 29 per 1,000 women of reproductive age in 1980 to about 15 in 2014.

Pro-choice supporters pose for photos outside the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis, Missouri, May 31, 2019, the last location in the state performing abortions, after a US Court announced the clinic could continue operating. She used that position to speak out about Trump administration policies that she said hurt women's reproductive rights.

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