As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to enter the White House, some wonder whether Planned Parenthood federal funding will be cut.
Many Americans are beginning to consider what a Trump administration will do on a variety of policy fronts, including what happens to insurance coverage of birth control and funding of Planned Parenthood health clinics.
“While we truly hope that birth control methods will be available, accessible, and affordable to all women under the Trump administration, we understand people’s real concerns about losing access to birth control, which is basic health care for women,” Planned Parenthood’s Raegan McDonald-Mosley told the Huffington Post.
During the run-up to the election, Mr. Trump made several promises regarding women’s healthcare. He proposed defunding Planned Parenthood entirely, as long as it continues to offer abortions, and nominating an anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court. He also promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could impact women’s access to birth control options.
A 2015 Gallup poll found that just 19 percent of those surveyed believed that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances, but in March, Trump’s assertion during an MSNBC town hall event that women who get illegal abortions should be subject to some kind of penalty shocked even some conservatives.
Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate also alarmed pro-choice and women’s health groups. Governor Pence is known for his anti-abortion stance, and for signing one of the strictest state abortion laws currently in existence.
Amid such concerns, the Obama administration is considering steps that could help preserve funding for Planned Parenthood, which delivers a variety of women’s health services.
Last week the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would prevent states from defunding organizations such as Planned Parenthood for political reasons.
Specifically, the rule would require that Title X Family Planning Program money could not be withheld from programs such as Planned Parenthood unless those programs were not delivering the services they promised. Yet although that rule intends to prevent states from defunding the health services provider and others like it, it would not prevent Congress from changing or abolishing the ACA.
Planned Parenthood says abortions represent about 3 percent of total services it provides, and roughly 10 percent of its clients received an abortion. In 2014, Planned Parenthood received $528 million in state and federal funding – or about 40 percent of its annual budget.
Title X does not allow federal funds to be used for abortions. Medicaid (state and federally funded health care targeted at lower-income Americans), however, does allow government money to be spent on them — in very restricted cases. The 1977 Hyde Amendment dictated that federal Medicaid funds could only be used to fund abortions in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
The concern for some low- and middle-income women is that any government funding cuts to Planned Parenthood will mean access to some forms of birth control will be cut off.
Planned Parenthood is gearing up for a political battle.
“Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and one thing is clear: We will never back down and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need,” wrote Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in a statement. “Health care should not be political.”
“Every morning, Planned Parenthood health center staff across the country wake up and open their doors, as they have this morning, to care for anyone who needs them, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, income, or country of origin. They will do so today, they will do so tomorrow, they will do so every day as they have for 100 years. ”