New rule impacts Planned Parenthood

Title X revisions affect funding, 22 states file lawsuits


Andrew Cardone

Planned Parenthood has a location in downtown Pittsburgh.

Marissa Pekular, North Campus Writer

Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final version of the Title X program to be published in the federal register.

The revisions ban federal family planning funds that support health care providers who perform or refer abortion services. The new rule also prohibits federally funded family planning clinics from sharing the same locations as abortion clinics. According to pro-choice advocates, these new restrictions amount to be a domestic “gag rule.”

President Trump promised his supporters that he would change government policy regarding reproductive health care when he was on the campaign trail in 2016. This year, he fulfilled that promise, as millions of federal dollars were cut from supporting clinics such as Planned Parenthood. Instead, that money will be redirected to faith-based groups.

The American Medical Association (AMA) warned that this ruling could impact services far beyond abortion. It is estimated that 4 million low-income women depended on the Title X programs for services such as cancer screenings, birth control and the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

“This rule interferes with and imposes restrictions on the patient-physician relationship. For all intents and purposes, it imposes a gag rule on what information physicians can provide to their patients,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD. “The patient-physician relationship relies on trust, open conversation and informed decision making and the government should not be telling physicians what they can and cannot say to their patients.”

It could be some time before the women who use federally funded family planning services feel these effects.

The AMA, reproductive health care clinics and 22 states separately filed lawsuits on March 5, seeking to block these changes made in Title X.

Pennsylvania is included in the lawsuit, being represented by State Attorney General, Josh Shapiro.
Religious conservatives, on the other hand, embrace this new ruling as a victory. Many Trump supporters endorse the revised regulations in Title X as it coincides with their religious and political beliefs.

“Abortion is neither healthcare nor family planning which is why the Title X program has no business funding it,” Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said in a statement.
Abortion has been a politically divisive topic since its legalization in 1973 known has the Roe V. Wade ruling.

However, women everywhere, liberal or conservative, will potentially feel the effects of the Title X revisions in the months to come.

The leaders of health care associations representing black and Latino patients fear that the women from their communities will be disproportionately affected as they make up more than half of the recipients of the Title X grants.

It will be sometime before this ruling is put into effect. In the meantime, millions of women will anticipate the potentially new laws that govern their reproductive health care rights.