Planned Parenthood pulls out of family planning program over Trump abortion rule

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Planned Parenthood clinic

A Planned Parenthood clinic is photographed in St. Louis. | Jeff Roberson/AP File Photo

Planned Parenthood made good Monday on months of threats to pull out of the federal family planning program rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule barring federally funded clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.

The organization and other providers in the Title X program have to show by midnight they plan to comply with the new rule or forfeit millions of dollars in federal grants. By withdrawing its more than 400 clinics from the program, Planned Parenthood will leave low-income women in many parts of the country without federally funded access to birth control and other reproductive health services.

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“We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients,” said acting President Alexis McGill Johnson on a call with reporters.

The decision marks a partial victory for Republican lawmakers who have been trying to defund the organization. But while Planned Parenthood gets about $60 million a year under Title X, it receives far more from Medicaid. It also gets funding from other federal and state programs to combat HIV and provide sexual education to teenagers.

Planned Parenthood serves about 1.6 million of the roughly 4 million low-income women who depend on clinics for free and subsidized birth control. In some states like Utah and Vermont, it made up the entirety of the Title X network.

The organization has said for months it wouldn’t operate under the Trump rule, which also requires clinics to refer pregnant patients for pre-natal care, regardless of the woman’s wishes. And while it’s been illegal for decades to use any federal funding for abortions, the new rule also bars clinics that get Title X money from providing abortions using other funding sources.

The Department of Health and Human Services served notice last week that providers that didn’t show a “good faith effort” to come into compliance would be booted from the program. Planned Parenthood made a late effort to freeze the policy change, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California on Friday refused to issue an emergency injunction.

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