The group declared they will not participate within the solely federally funded program dedicated to providing contraceptive method and alternative reproductive health services to low-income women, marking a victory for Trump’s conservative base.
Planned Parenthood will continue to offer services at hundreds of its sites across the country, saying it will draw on “emergency funds.” And by eschewing the federal funds, known as Title X, the group can still refer women for abortions.
“While we are incredibly concerned by this harmful rule, our doors are still open,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.
The organization was joined by a family planning provider in Maine that said it also would go without federal funding.
“We announced today that, after nearly 50 years as Maine’s Title X grantee, we will withdraw from the program rather than comply with the Trump-Pence #GagRule,” Maine Family Planning, a Title X provider, tweeted. “We won’t compromise on care or medical ethics. Our clinics are open and we are providing services just as we always have.”
The Trump administration told Title X grantees Monday evening it would enforce a ban on abortion referrals amid litigation challenging the rules. That means hundreds of grantees will have to decide in the coming days whether they will follow the rules or exit the program.
The loss of millions of dollars in grant funding could be challenging for cash-strapped clinics that offer health services at little or no cost to patients.
“Other clinics may not have the fundraising ability that Planned Parenthood has and will either have to take the funding or will have to cut services or hours,” said Alina Salganicoff, senior vice president and director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Some grantees might feel compelled to refuse the money because the rules banning abortion referrals compromise their missions to be honest with patients and provide them with all options, Salganicoff said.
Those funding decisions will be made by the nonprofits, state governments and health departments that manage the Title X sites in their states.
“We are reviewing our options in light of the administration’s decision to begin enforcing these dangerous rules,” said Casey Katims, director of federal and interstate affairs for Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who’s running for president.
“Washington state will not come into compliance with the rules, which unlawfully threaten access to health care for millions of women and men,” Katims added.
Washington’s health department received $4.1 million in Title X funds in April to disburse to almost 70 service sites, many of which are Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Title X grantees are in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with Trump administration officials for a conference, and they’re hoping to receive more information about enforcement of the new rules.
In all, the regulations could impact the more than 1,000 service sites.
“This will affect different communities in very different ways,” Salganicoff said. “Some communities will be left without a family planning provider, and the burden will be on the women and the clients.”
Other clinics might become ineligible for funding under the new rules, which require a physical and financial separation between Title X services and abortions. That means clinics might have to hire new staff and perform abortions in separate facilities.
Many family planning clinics offer abortions, but the procedure is not covered under Title X or by other federal funding sources.
Still, the Trump administration and anti-abortion groups argue that abortion providers should not receive any federal funding.
“Organizations who are already receiving Title X funding, they don’t have to stop receiving that funding if they come into compliance with these rules,” said Melanie Israel, a research associate at the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The new rules are a huge win for social conservatives and anti-abortion advocates, who have long been pushing the federal government to “defund” Planned Parenthood. And the changes came just a day before an unexpected leadership change at Planned Parenthood, which ousted Leana Wen as president.
“Without reducing Title X funding by a dime, the Protect Life Rule simply draws a bright line between abortion and family planning, stopping abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood from treating Title X as their private slush fund,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group.