Rather than comply with a rule prohibiting Title X providers from referring women for abortions, Planned Parenthood chose to leave the program.
Planned Parenthood is right in calling the new rule unethical and illegal. It lets the government in the exam room, allowing a politician to stand between a doctor and her patient. It prevents providers from giving patients all the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.
And it is unnecessary. Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has prevented federal money from directly funding abortions. Giving doctors the freedom to tell a woman—if she asks—where she can get a constitutionally protected medical service does not, as the Department of Health and Human Services has tried to argue, turn that exam room into a place “where abortion is a method of family planning.”
But Planned Parenthood’s decision to withdraw from Title X also threatens to hurt as many as 1.6 million low-income Americans who depend on its clinics for needed medical care such as tests for sexually transmitted diseases and breast and cervical cancer. That’s something Planned Parenthood itself admits.
Of the 4 million Title X patients, 40 percent are served by Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood’s stand against the Title X rule change is risky but necessary as long as the Trump administration is willing to put politics before women’s health.
–Houston Chronicle, September 2, 2019 (full editorial here)
The Title X rule change inflicts serious damage not only to the health care profession’s mandate to provide a full range of medical options, but more critically to women seeking family planning and vital health services.
This draconian move is not surprising for a president known for his disregard for women. But it’s a move supported by the political and religious right, which have insisted for decades on imposing their beliefs on health care.
Is there any other instance where the politicization of medicine would single out a legal medical option? Well, yes, there is: the availability of contraception itself, which is also under fire. Earlier in the year, the administration attempted to shift dollars toward groups that promoted abstinence and away from those providing birth control.
This follows a general erosion of access to contraception, which, coupled with the Title X change, could effectively coerce some women into bearing children.
It’s hard to imagine any other instance where private health choices—such as vasectomies—would be subject to government approval—or worse, prohibited from being discussed as an option.
It’s also hard to square today’s charged attitudes about reproductive health and rights with the time nearly 50 years ago when Title X was created as a bipartisan effort to provide family planning assistance and other health care to low-income women.
–The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 28, 2019 (full editorial here)