STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump administration inches closer to defunding Planned Parenthood

The US Department of Health and Human Services issued its draft...

Posted: Feb 22, 2019 3:51 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2019 5:45 PM

The US Department of Health and Human Services issued its draft final rule to revise the Title X family planning program Friday, jeopardizing a decades-old program that serves millions of low-income people, critics say.

Title X, established in 1970, provides more than $250 million in funding for birth control and other reproductive health care services to approximately 4 million people every year.

Central to opponents' concerns about the rule are provisions that prohibit health care providers who receive federal funding from performing abortions or even referring patients elsewhere for the procedure.

'This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need,' said Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

'This clear attack on family planning care could result in lower-quality care or none at all for people struggling to make ends meet,' added Coleman, whose organization represents publicly funded family planning providers and administrators.

Anti-abortion groups were quick to applaud the development, which would effectively defund Planned Parenthood.

'We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion industry,' said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

'The Protect Life Rule does not cut family planning funding by a single dime, and instead directs tax dollars to entities that provide healthcare to women but do not perform abortions,' Dannenfelser said in a statement. 'The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses.'

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, shot back Friday, calling the rule a 'gag rule' and describing it as 'unconscionable and unethical.'

'This rule compromises the oath that I took to serve patients and help them with making the best decision for their own health. Patients expect their doctors to speak honestly with them, to answer their questions, to help them in their time of need,' she said in a statement. 'Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin. It would never happen. Reproductive health care should be no different.'

The Title X Family Planning Program was instituted during the Nixon administration to provide family planning and related health services. But what constitutes 'family planning' has become a political point of contention.

The law prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. And even though Planned Parenthood insists that the Title X funding it receives is used for the many non-abortion services it provides -- including access to birth control, Pap smears, pregnancy and STD testing -- conservatives have long argued that the organization and reproductive health care centers like it should be cut off from family planning federal funding altogether.

The updates announced Friday will replace rules that have been in place since 2000. They will also replace a 2016 rule that placed restrictions on states and others entities receiving Title X funding. Since May, lawsuits have been filed to try to block these most recent changes.

The changes also include improved transparency by requiring more complete reporting from those receiving funds. In addition, the program will enhance efforts to protect women and children from becoming victims of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest and intimate partner violence, according to Health and Human Services.

Included are 'notable improvements designed to increase the number of patients served and improve the quality of their care,' the agency statement says. 'The updated rule seeks to ensure a holistic and health-centered approach, safeguarding the short- and long-term family planning needs of more women, men, and adolescents in need of services.'

The final rule for Title X will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. And while organizations like the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association are combing through the more than 300-page rule, they say they are also ready to fight and may take legal action.

'If the official published rule is as damaging as today's draft final version,' Coleman said, her group 'will be prepared to challenge the Trump administration to protect the family planning safety net for the millions of people who rely on it.'

Huntsville
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 43°
Florence
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 48°
Fayetteville
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 47°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 46°
Scottsboro
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 43°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 529446

Reported Deaths: 10930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763031516
Mobile40850804
Madison34622501
Tuscaloosa25701451
Montgomery24289585
Shelby23367247
Baldwin21035307
Lee15822169
Calhoun14469313
Morgan14266279
Etowah13806352
Marshall12185222
Houston10533280
Elmore10029205
Limestone9948150
Cullman9640193
St. Clair9589239
Lauderdale9407239
DeKalb8814185
Talladega8199175
Walker7214277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6801111
Blount6635136
Colbert6288134
Coffee5498117
Dale4820111
Russell438438
Chilton4258111
Franklin424782
Covington4111117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia393076
Chambers3555123
Dallas3543151
Clarke350661
Marion3105100
Pike310177
Lawrence299798
Winston273672
Bibb260463
Marengo249064
Geneva247676
Pickens233659
Barbour230756
Hale222276
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184145
Randolph179241
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158850
Clay155156
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148341
Lamar141534
Lowndes138553
Wilcox126729
Bullock122941
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa106928
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 850885

Reported Deaths: 12228
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby953751618
Davidson89250932
Knox50562634
Hamilton44186492
Rutherford42989434
Williamson27959217
Sumner23951348
Montgomery20166225
Wilson18764233
Out of TN1836297
Unassigned16967134
Sullivan16720294
Blount15468193
Bradley14995149
Washington14554245
Maury13471171
Sevier13360175
Putnam11357174
Madison11151241
Robertson9745131
Anderson8751172
Hamblen8596173
Greene7844155
Tipton7328100
Coffee6894121
Dickson6831110
Cumberland6711129
Carter6603156
Gibson6520145
Bedford6503128
McMinn649998
Roane6272105
Jefferson6186124
Loudon611469
Hawkins6011107
Lawrence590886
Monroe582395
Warren554481
Dyer5417106
Franklin514090
Fayette504075
Cheatham454655
Obion453696
Cocke449199
Lincoln434663
Rhea434175
Marshall418258
Campbell415263
Weakley410864
Giles3995100
Henderson378476
White362669
Macon361778
Carroll361583
Hardin356867
Hardeman351364
Claiborne317873
Lauderdale317744
Henry317676
Marion312547
Scott311745
Overton300661
Wayne295834
Hickman283546
McNairy281154
DeKalb279454
Smith277339
Haywood270662
Grainger262150
Trousdale249922
Morgan249339
Fentress241047
Johnson239139
Chester214051
Bledsoe213211
Polk206624
Crockett203248
Unicoi202549
Cannon191831
Union190634
Grundy179034
Humphreys178926
Lake170226
Sequatchie169529
Benton165740
Decatur158539
Lewis158126
Meigs138825
Stewart132328
Jackson131935
Clay110131
Houston109333
Perry106328
Moore101017
Van Buren84623
Pickett75924
Hancock58812

Community Events