* Last Friday…
Millions of low-income women could lose access to birth control and other reproductive health services when a Trump administration rule kicks in Monday night that bans funding for clinics that make abortion referrals, among other restrictions.
The new policy steers federal dollars toward anti-abortion, faith-based providers and bans all participating doctors from giving women information about obtaining abortions, which critics call a “gag rule.” Going beyond longstanding restrictions on using federal money for abortions, the rule also cuts off family planning dollars to clinics that use their own money to provide abortions. Some providers who oppose the new policy already have stopped using federal Title X family planning dollars while they await a possible federal appeals court ruling that could block it. That’s allowed Planned Parenthood, as well as states including Oregon, Washington and Illinois, to technically stay in the program without having to follow the new rule.
But that could all change in the next few days. HHS says midnight on Monday is the deadline for providers to prove they’re following the rule or be thrown out of the program and forced to forfeit grants worth tens of millions of dollars a year.
Today, August 19, 2019, The Trump-Pence administration is forcing Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) and other providers out of the national program for birth control and reproductive health care — Title X — through an unethical gag rule. Over 100,000 people in Illinois rely on Title X to access basic health care like cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, birth control, and STI testing and treatment. PPIL operates one in five Title X health centers in Illinois, and serves more than 42 percent of Title X contraceptive clients. PPIL is the only Title X provider in six counties in Central Illinois: LaSalle, Macon, McLane, Peoria, Sangamon, and Tazewell.
Community health centers throughout Illinois say there is no way they will be able to fill the gap when Planned Parenthood health centers are no longer allowed to serve these patients. This move by the Trump-Pence administration puts affordable health care out of reach for many underserved communities, with an even greater impact on communities in poverty and rural communities.
Title X subsidizes family planning and preventive services for low-income families. It grew out of federal subsidies to help low-income families obtain birth control as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1965. The current program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (Public Law 91-572), passed the Senate unanimously and the House overwhelmingly in 1970, and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
Below is a statement attributed to Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
“Planned Parenthood being forced out of the Title X program due to the unethical gag rule is a devastating blow to Illinois residents, especially in Central Illinois. In the short term, we have emergency funds to continue providing services for our patients, which is our number one priority. However, this is not a permanent solution nor is this gap in funding something that can be covered through private philanthropy.
“Illinois is a haven for reproductive health care but the Trump-Pence administration is sidestepping the choices of local residents. We will continue to fight for the rights of all Illinois residents to have access to abortion information, birth control and health care.”
* Capitol News Illinois…
“The Trump administration’s gag rule is fundamentally wrong,” Pritzker said in a telephone news conference Monday. “This policy has caused a mess of confusion and uncertainty, destabilizing women’s health care nationwide and doing extraordinary harm to the lives of patients, particularly women of color.” […]
In Illinois, the state Department of Public Health typically receives about $4 million a year, which it distributes to various public health clinics in the state. Planned Parenthood of Illinois receives about another $3.5 million, while Aunt Martha’s receives about $500,000.
The money is used to pay for such services as contraception, cancer screening and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, among other things.
Since the program’s inception in 1970, federal law has prohibited recipients from using Title X money to pay for abortions. But abortion opponents have for years wanted the ban to go further by prohibiting money from going to any organization that provides abortion services or refers women to abortion providers, even if the funding for those services comes from separate sources. That’s essentially what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did earlier this year when it announced its new rule.
* Public Radio…
Planned Parenthood is the sole Title X provider in Peoria, Tazewell, Sangamon, LaSalle, Macon and McLean counties. Pritzker said the agency served 70,000 people in Illinois in the last fiscal year.
Planned Parenthood officials declined to put a number on the expected financial impact on their bottom line in the Monday conference call.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to block the rule’s implementation last week as a court battle moves forward.