Last Monday, Planned Parenthood left the Title X program after the Trump administration introduced a new regulation to the program that would forbid Title X recipients from performing or recommending abortions. The only exception to this regulation applies in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency.
Opponents to this regulation say that it interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and that anti-abortion advocates don’t want any federal funds to go toward organizations that offer abortions—particularly Planned Parenthood. This is a shock to millions of low-income women across the country and is yet another blow to women’s reproductive rights (which have never been able to get a break, especially this past year).
Those in favor of this regulation fail to acknowledge that Planned Parenthood doesn’t only offer abortions. In its 2013-2014 report, Planned Parenthood stated that only 3% of their overall services provided were abortions. In fact, Title X funds are hardly used for abortions. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, Title X is meant for “affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare,” so most of the funds are used for wellness exams, breast cancer screenings (Title X funds are especially needed for these screenings since Susan G. Komen stopped funding them), birth control, contraception education, HIV testing, and STD testing and treatment. Still, Planned Parenthood is portrayed as an unstoppable abortion machine.
Instead, Planned Parenthood should be seen for what it truly is: an organization designed to provide millions of women, insured or not, with affordable reproductive healthcare. And the fact that it’s out of Title X and has lost $60 million in federal funding should scare everyone because it affects everyone. Title X helps four million low-income women receive healthcare they may have otherwise been unable to get, and Planned Parenthood helps 40% of that four million. This means that now, approximately 1.6 million women will no longer have access to safe reproductive healthcare. But if you’re not one of those 1.6 million women, you still can’t rest easy. Planned Parenthood provides healthcare to everyone, regardless of citizen status, sexuality, gender, or income. So now it’s also harder for immigrant women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community to receive reproductive healthcare and get tested and treated for STDs and HIV, which still disproportionately affects marginalized communities.
Because the most prominent member of Title X is now out of the program, the Trump administration—and many anti-abortion advocates—essentially is enjoying a huge win, which could encourage them to create further regulations restricting reproduction rights. Who’s to say they won’t leverage their money to make birth control harder to obtain? Or increase the price of breast cancer screenings? Or make reproductive healthcare accessible exclusively for cishet U.S. citizens? We don’t know how far they’ll go to impede reproductive rights, and this should scare everyone. The Trump administration might even dismantle Title X altogether, which, according to Planned Parenthood’s website, would cost federal and state governments $13.6 billion. We need to take action now. If you’re able, donate to Planned Parenthood; sign this open letter to show your support; continue to call your representatives and tell them that you stand with Planned Parenthood and will not stand idly while reproductive rights everywhere are being targeted. Tell them you care about Planned Parenthood leaving Title X, and then tell them why they should too.
By Modesty Sanchez