Opponents of Planned Parenthood in recent years have cut funding to the organization that goes through the Title X Family Planning Program, which provides federal money for services like contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and cancer screenings. (Like all federal programs, it is largely barred from paying for abortions.) State and local governments distribute that money to health care providers, and at least 14 states took actions to cut the share they direct to Planned Parenthood.
State efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of Title X funds have hurt low-income residents, who are likely to depend on Planned Parenthood clinics for free or low-cost health services. In New Hampshire, for instance, the state’s Executive Council voted in 2011 not to renew Planned Parenthood’s contract under Title X, leaving parts of the state with no federally funded family planning services until the Department of Health and Human Services stepped in with an emergency grant three months later. Fortunately, the council voted in June to restore funding.
In 2011, Texas cut its state family planning budget and changed the way it allocated Title X funds to significantly reduce grants to Planned Parenthood and other “abortion-affiliated providers.” More than 75 clinics, a third operated by Planned Parenthood, closed as a result.
Some state lawmakers have argued that community health centers can easily provide the same family planning services that Planned Parenthood offers. But a study published this year found that providers focused on reproductive health care, like Planned Parenthood, offered a wider range of family planning services and higher quality care than centers without an emphasis on reproductive health.
Donald Trump, who rolled to an astonishing victory in the presidential election, laid waste to conventional wisdom, the polling industry, his opponents, the truth, and almost every remaining rule of decency left in American politics. Regrettably, it worked.
Now all must live with the consequences. The president-elect will immediately face challenges containing the forces that he has unleashed. If, as he vowed, Trump wants to make America great again, his first and most urgent task is to make it civil again.
The surge in turnout by Hispanic voters, while not enough to stop Trump, was vivid evidence of the impact his rhetoric has had on American society.
To put it charitably, Trump did nothing during the campaign to suggest he has the skills to heal a divided nation. As our president-elect, he will have to demonstrate a grace that has remained elusive, and make clear that he understands his job from this day on is to overcome divisions, not exacerbate them.
He will also need to do what he never did during the campaign: put together a coherent plan for his government, starting with a Cabinet. He was rightly shunned by most Republicans during the campaign, but now he will need their help to give substance to his vague promises to make everything great.
This outcome is not one that this page welcomes. Trump looks like a disaster in the making; all Americans can do now is pray that he proves his skeptics wrong.