New Massachusetts Law Will Fund Planned Parenthood If Trump Administration Succeeds in Pulling Title X Funding
Boston, MA– In February, the Trump administration passed a new rule to restrict Title X funding, which supports family planning and related health services for low-income or uninsured people. To be clear, Title X does not fund abortion. It funds reproductive health services, including contraception, for around four million low-income women.
In response to the move by the Trump administration, the Massachusetts State Legislature and Governor Charlie Baker have passed a bill securing funding to family planning and women’s reproductive health clinics like Planned Parenthood.
CBS Boston reported that the state has allocated $8 million to continue to fund these services if federal funding is revoked. The changes to Title X won’t go into effect for at least 60 days, and may be blocked entirely. Massachusetts is part of a lawsuit, along with 20 other states, that challenges the changes to the Title X rule.
The new Title X rule would remove funding for any family planning clinics that share a space with abortion providers, and it would prevent clinics from making abortion referrals if they want to remain eligible Title X funding.
This is a pet project of ultra-conservative Vice President Mike Pence, who has said in the past that he wants abortions to be illegal. Another aspect of the Title X changes has been called a “gag rule” by critics, because the new rules would prevent doctors from even bring up the option of abortion with patients.
Just to reiterate: Title X funding does not go toward abortion procedures. It funds things like birth control, health checks for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing, breast exams, and reproductive health visits. You know: lady stuff. These services and more are provided at Planned Parenthood clinics, in addition to abortions. If funding is removed for birth control at Planned Parenthood, uninsured and poor women may be at a loss to find an affordable alternative.
Planned Parenthood operates around 40% of the 4,000 nationwide clinics that receive Title X funding, reports The Atlantic. Anti-abortion activists have long argued that as one of the leading providers of abortions, Planned Parenthood should be stripped of its Title X funding. While the funds can’t go directly to abortions, Planned Parenthood’s critics say that the federal funding is still indirectly enabling abortion, since it frees up the organization to use other financial resources in its abortion clinics.
In Massachusetts, Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO of the state’s Planned Parenthood League, said that the loss of Title X federal funding would impact programs supporting around 75,000 patients who rely on the federally supported services for STD testing, birth control, and pap smears.
Childs-Roshak summarized the views of the current administration: "The Trump/Pence administration is obsessed with Planned Parenthood, and not in a good way. They are obsessed with abortion."