Rather than submit to an abortion gag rule, Planned Parenthood announced today it would withdraw from the federally financed Title X family planning program.
In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson had already stripped Planned Parenthood of family planning money based on the erroneous assertion that Planned Parenthood had participated in unethical handling of fetal tissue. That charge was both unsubstantiated and didn’t involve Arkansas.
The anti-abortion 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Kristine Baker’s decision to prevent the funding cutoff in Arkansas. That legal challenge to the Arkansas decision is still pending on constitutional issues, but Planned Parenthood has operated without the money, a loss of some $50,000 annually here.
Today’s national decision is broad and unfortunate.
During a telephone press conference, Planned Parenthood’s acting president, Alexis McGill Johnson said, “Today we are announcing that due to an unethical and dangerous gag rule, the Trump administration has forced Planned Parenthood grantees out of Title X.”
She added, “Our affiliate grantees will submit letters saying as much to [the Department of Health and Human Services] today. Planned Parenthood is still open. Our doors are open today and our doors will be open tomorrow … I want our patients to know that while the Trump administration may have given up on you, we never will.”
To the extent the decision limits access to family planning for poor women, the results are easy to predict: Unwanted pregnancies and abortions.