The Trump administration has initiated new directives on how Title X funding is allocated and how those requirements are enforced. The Title X Family Planning Program was implemented under the Nixon administration in the early 1970s.
The program is under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services to provide funding to resource centers and clinics in the United States. The funding was intended to provide family planning services, including a variety of contraceptive options, STI screening, cancer screening, fertility counseling, and other related services to those who needed it. Under the original provisions, abortion was not a permitted method of family planning. However, due to inadequate requirements and stipulations, abortion providers have used Title X funds to indirectly pay for abortion procedures. The way they did this was to use Title X funds for other non-abortion-related services in order to free up non-Title X funds for abortions performed at the same facilities. Since all income goes into the same fund and is allocated from there, the only separation of Title X funds from abortion was on paper, not reality.
The Trump administration has made good on its promise to stop federal tax dollars from going towards abortions. The Protect Life Rule will partially defund Planned Parenthood under new requirements stating the Title X funds will not go to any facilities which performs or refers for abortions as a family planning service.
Unsurprisingly, this directive has led to controversy. Planned Parenthood supporters argue Title X funding has nothing to do with abortion, and others state these new directives will come at a cost to women’s health.
They are correct about Title X having little to do with abortions. Title X was intended to aid low-income or uninsured families in accessing family planning services, including, but not limited to, contraceptives and other reproductive (but not abortion-related) healthcare. Prior to the recent pro-life legislation, Title X already prohibited the funding of abortion procedures or any services related to abortions, but the regulations to fulfill that rule were vague.
America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is not eligible under the new directives to receive Title X funding without a financial and physical separation between their family planning services and abortions. However, the abortion provider was not willing to stop performing abortions or to financially separate abortions from its other services. Because of this, Planned Parenthood now stands to lose 60 million dollars in Title X funds.
This ruling has received numerous appeals attempting to overturn it. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied requests from 20 states and Planned Parenthood to block the new directives. These new requirements placed on Title X will thus be allowed to take effect and disentangle these funds from abortion services.
It is estimated over 400,000 individuals benefit from Title X services every year, most of which are young, low-income women. With this decision, the organization which claims to advocate for women’s healthcare and reproductive rights has made its true motive clear. Planned Parenthood is more concerned about its real-money maker than they are about providing services to those who cannot afford them.