Trump Administration Cuts Funds to Orgs That Provide Abortions

By Ayana Byrd May 18, 2018

Today (May 18), the Trump administration moved one step closer to the president’s campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

An administration official announced that health providers who receive Title X funding cannot perform abortions, support the procedure or accept referrals for them at facilities that perform taxpayer-backed operations. Those operations include women’s wellness exams, contraception counseling and other reproductive health procedures. 

Per NBC News:


The Trump administration moved forward with a proposal Friday that would effectively ban Planned Parenthood and similar organizations from providing abortion and related services under the same roof as operations funded by federal family-planning grants, according to an administration official.


The so-called Hyde amendment prohibits the use of competitive federal family-planning grant funds for abortion, but organizations like Planned Parenthood have traditionally used the federal money for other health services while using private money for abortions and related services—sometimes at the same facilities and with the same staff.

Title X was established in 1970 by the federal government and provides affordable birth control and reproductive health care for lower-income earning people. According to Planned Parenthood, more than four million people use it annually. About two-thirds of people who visit family planning services live below the federal poverty level, reports NBC News.

The New York Times, based on information provided by three anonymous administration officials, reported yesterday (May 17) that the new policy would include a “domestic gag rule” that cut federal family planning funds for any reproductive health organization—including Planned Parenthood—that mentions abortion as a family planning method. However, that provision was not included in today’s announcement. 

Although federal family planning laws already ban direct funding of organizations that use abortion as a family planning method, anti-choice activists have been pressuring the administration to pass additional, more restrictive laws. According to The Times, “conservative activists and Republican lawmakers have been pressing Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, to tighten the rules further so that abortions could not occur—or be performed by the same staff—at locations that receive Title X federal family planning money.”

Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, released a statement:


This is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights, period. Under this rule, people will not get the health care they need. They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams.


Everyone has the right to information about their health care—including information about safe, legal abortion, and every woman deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. No matter what. They won’t get it under this rule.

Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortions with taxpayer money. In addition, as it states on its website, the organization does not receive a check from the federal government for its budget. Instead, it receives federal money primarily via Medicaid reimbursements and Title X for providing care for patients. 

Laguens tweeted today that one in five women in the United States have used Planned Parenthood’s services at least once. The organization provides health care, contraception and sex education for women, men and teens. According to Planned Parenthood, 35 percent of its patients are women of color. And of the 2.4 million women who use their services annually, 15 percent are Black. "If they were prevented from accessing Planned Parenthood, many Black patients would have no other place to go for the services Planned Parenthood provides," the organization writes on its advocacy website, I Stand With Planned Parenthood

When the Reagan administration put forth a similar rule in 1988, it led to a number of legal challenges. Planned Parenthood and other groups filed lawsuits that blocked the rule as it moved through the court system, with a 1991 decision by the Supreme Court finally allowing it to move forward. In 1993, President Bill Clinton rescinded the policy.

Throughout the presidential campaign season, Trump gave varying answers on his opinion of Planned Parenthood, at times saying it "does some very good work" and at times saying he would strip the organization of its funding, a top policy agenda item for many Republicans.

Next week, he is scheduled to deliver the keynote at the Campaign for Life gala held by the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that is staunchly anti-choice. Its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, has called Trump “the most pro-life president in our nation’s history.”