Anti-abortion groups are ecstatic. They think that refusing federal money will kill Planned Parenthood. They may have another thing coming.
Anti-Planned Parenthood groups have argued that the organization should not receive those funds because it also either provides abortion services or refers patients to doctors who do. The Trump administration has issued that very policy.
Last week, lower courts refused to order a halt to a Trump administration policy change that would withhold Title X federal funds from any health provider that includes even references to abortion in its services to patients.
Title X provides federal payments to cover the cost of providing health services for qualifying poorer patients. Because it is often the only source of such services in some areas, Planned Parenthood serves 40 percent of Title X patients. In the process, it generates $60 million annually.
When Planned Parenthood announced Monday that it would forego all federal payments rather than buckle to the administration’s gag rule, Jeanne Mancini, president
of the March for Life, called it “a long-
awaited victory that will energize the pro-
Unfortunately for March for Life and the other anti-abortion forces cheering for Planned Parenthood’s demise and the end of abortion services, most Americans seem just as likely to be dismayed.
Only 18 percent of those who responded to a June NPR/Marist poll on American views said abortion either should never be allowed or be allowed only to save a woman’s life. That means at least 80 percent of Americans believe abortion has at least some legitimate role in women’s health services.
The end of Title X support for health providers that include abortion services will have no effect on those who can afford reproductive health care. These affluent women will simply seek an abortion from providers that don’t need federal money or permission.
As is too often case in a society plagued by growing inequality, poorer women will not get health services if federal funds are cut off. History proves women who do not have access to safe medical abortions will seek alternatives.
Anti-abortion forces have too long vilified Planned Parenthood as an organization that kills babies. Since 1916, its mission has been to make safe, scientifically sound reproductive health choices available to all women.
If the federal government won’t help, others will have to step up. Planned Parenthood has. Everyone who believes in a woman’s right to make her own health choices should do the same.