Planned Parenthood is pulling out of the federal family planning program following a new Trump administration rule prohibiting clinics from referring women for abortions.
Enforcement of the new Title X rule marks a major victory for a key part of President Donald Trump’s political base—religious conservatives opposed to abortion. They have been campaigning relentlessly to “defund Planned Parenthood” because it is the largest abortion provider in the United States, and they viewed the Title X grants as an indirect subsidy.
Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s acting president and CEO, complained about the rule of Trump administration.
“We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients,” said McGill Johnson. “Our patients deserve to make their own health care decisions, not to be forced to have Donald Trump or Mike Pence make those decisions for them.”
Approximately 4 million females are served nationwide under a program titled Title X that distributes $260 million in family planning to hospitals, with the planned parenthood serving around 40% of patients.
Family planning funds cannot be used to pay for abortions.
The Federal Department of Health and Human Services stated in a declaration that Planned Parenthood knew about the new restrictions months earlier and proposed that the group could have decided to exit the program at that stage.
“Some grantees are now blaming the government for their own actions—having chosen to accept the grant while failing to comply with the regulations that accompany it—and they are abandoning their obligations to serve patients under the program,” the department said.
It said it would strive to make sure patients are served.
In addition, Maine Family Planning also released its letter of withdrawal Monday. The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, an umbrella group for family planning clinics, is suing to overturn the regulations.
A federal court of appeal in San Francisco is considering a lawsuit to overturn the rules, but so far the court has permitted the administration to pursue implementation. Oral arguments are planned for Sept. 23 week. Several states and the American Medical Association have entered the lawsuit as plaintiffs.
In addition to the ban on abortion referrals by clinics, the rule’s requirements include financial separation from facilities that provide abortions, designating abortion counseling as optional instead of standard practice, and limiting which staff members can discuss abortion with patients.
The Trump administration has also made it possible for faith-based organizations opposed to abortion to receive Title X grants.
HHS said in its statement that it’s grateful for the many grant recipients that are remaining with the program. State and local health departments account for a significant share of service providers. “We will work to ensure all patients continue to be served,” the agency said.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press