Planned Parenthood and Title X

Planned Parenthood will not be accepting Title X funding from the Trump administration. Their reasoning is simple; they do not want to adhere to the government’s new “gag rule” preventing Planned Parenthood from providing information concerning abortions to its patients.

Title X is a federal program dedicated to providing birth control and reproductive health care to low-income women and men.

The new rule would prevent organizations receiving Title X funding from providing any information concerning or referring patients for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency.

Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s acting president, announced all the health care clinic affiliates would be formally announcing their resignation from Title X. She warned that without Planned Parenthood, low-income women in rural areas would struggle to find affordable birth control options.

“What’s at stake is our ability and our access to control our own lives through our own reproductive choices,” Johnson told CBS news.

From Dr. Brandon J. Hill, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains: “Everyone, regardless of income, should have access to comprehensive reproductive health care and information that they need and deserve… While our doors are still open, we’re calling on Congress to pass a long-term solution that guarantees patients can continue accessing their health care through Title X.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Planned Parenthood calls the new rule “a direct attack against the largest provider of federal family-planning services by a Republican administration that believes in using any legal and policy tools at its disposal to curb access to abortion and some forms of contraception.”

Though the Trump administration has not taken Planned Parenthood off of the Medicaid providers list, it did overturn an Obama administration order that all states were to accept Planned Parenthood as a medical provider.

The anti-abortion community is casting Planned Parenthood’s decision as a political move. That Planned Parenthood is putting abortions above healthcare. That Planned Parenthood is abandoning their obligations to 1.6 million Title X eligible women annually.

Of course, this is a political move. It is in opposition to the Trump administration’s line drawn in the sand in its crusade to overturn the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, establishing a woman’s reproductive right to make her own decisions concerning her pregnancy.

Yet the anti-abortion movement is losing steam. A national poll conducted in December 2018, by Perry Undem showed that 73 percent of the respondents supported a women’s right to choose. They conclude that politicians who support abortion restrictions are in conflict with the majority of voters, including 53 percent of Republicans.

This is a campaign move by Mr. Trump for the president’s re-election. Support from the “pro-life” members of Congress and state legislatures who are seeking their own re-elections. It is aimed at the conservative religious organizations that have and continue to support the pro-life movement.

This also is a 180-degree change in the president’s position on pro-choice versus pro-life. In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, he claimed to be pro-choice yet against partial-birth abortions. In the book he also supported fair trade, eliminating the national debt and universal healthcare.

However, in a 2011 speech given to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump claimed to be pro-life, setting the stage for his short-lived 2012 presidential bid. He reconfirmed his new position on abortions for his 2016 campaign, along with raising our national debt to over $22 trillion and wanting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

About 1.6 million patients a year are served under Title X across a nationwide network of about 600 Planned Parenthood clinics. Planned Parenthood in Missouri, including the Columbia Health Center, provided care to nearly 37,000 Missouri patients who rely on Title X in 2018.

This all goes to the unanswerable question as to when does life begin. For the religious, it depends on which biblical passage you choose; from pre-conception (Jeremiah 1:5) to draw one’s first breath (Genesis 2:7).

Even for the non-religious, there is no clear answer to this question either ethically or scientifically. It boils down to personal ethical preferences and beliefs.

Title X is absolutely essential to ensure that thousands of Missouri women, men, and young people get the reproductive and health care they need.

I urge you to support a woman’s reproductive rights, to take action, to register and to vote. Write letters to your state legislators and members of Congress in support of a woman’s reproductive rights and to support Planned Parenthood financially and politically.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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