Published: Tue, August 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Planned Parenthood leaves federal family planning program

Planned Parenthood leaves federal family planning program

The organization previously threatened to pull out of the federal family-planning Title X program rather than participate in the so-called "gag rule".

About 4 million women are served nationwide under the Title X program, which distributes $260 million in family planning grants to clinics.

Others on the call stressed that people of color will be disproportionately affected by the lack of Title X providers, and called on the Senate to adopt government spending legislation passed the House blocking the administration from implementing the rule. She went on to say that California is experiencing an "epidemic" when it comes to syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, and "an overwhelming majority" of Planned Parenthood patients are at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

"The gag rule is unethical and risky, and we will not subject our patients to it". Planned Parenthood said it would not remain in the program unless the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stepped in to overrule what it called an "unethical" policy, but the court did not do so before August 19.

"Some grantees are now blaming the government for their own actions - having chosen to accept the grant while failing to comply with the regulations that accompany it - and they are abandoning their obligations to serve their patients under the program", said Mia Heck, director of external affairs at HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. "The gag rule would make it impossible for us to uphold that commitment". The Times added, "The move could affect more than 1.5 million low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for services like birth control, pregnancy tests and screening for sexually transmitted diseases".

Planned Parenthood of Utah said they provide coverage to roughly 37,000 people under Title X funding. And governors of five other states - Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon and Washington - have said they would do the same.

Alex McGill Johnson, acting president of the organization, appealed last week to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene.

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Other organizations, including the American Medical Association, have come out strongly against the rule, saying it will require providers to withhold medical information from patients and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, as well as deny pregnant women all options available to them under law.

The Department of Health and Human Services rule would prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with patients or referring patients to abortion providers. The federal agency required that Title X grantees submit a letter detailing their compliance with the new policy by the end of the day today.

Planned Parenthood said it had no choice but to leave the program. Martinez said in the past year the Eureka Planned Parenthood has had over 10,000 patients and provided more than 15,500 tests for STDs and HIV.

An HHS representative told NPR that Planned Parenthood prioritizes abortion referral over remaining in the program.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco is weighing a lawsuit to overturn the rules, but so far the court has allowed the administration to go ahead with enforcement.

"Trying to protect unborn babies and protect the mothers of those unborn babies from a bad decision like abortion", she said, "I don't call that political, I call that good health care". "The Title X program has been the nation's only dedicated program for reproductive health care and affordable birth control for more than 50 years, and Planned Parenthood health centers have been proud to be Title X providers".

Dr. Leana Wen, the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in almost 50 years, is out of a job less than a year after she took over; Garrett Tenney reports.

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