Anti-choice groups have been ramping up their efforts this week to push the Trump administration to prevent Planned Parenthood facilities from accessing Title X family planning funds. “Defunding Planned Parenthood” was one of four promises Trump made to the movement in an effort to get anti-abortion activists on his side once he snagged the Republican presidential nomination, and activists have expressed frustration that it has not been done yet.
Most of the federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood is in the form of reimbursements for patients who use Medicaid, but the women’s health organization also receives some funding under the Title X family planning program. It’s the Title X funding that anti-choice activists are urging the Trump administration to cut.
Last week, the trade publication Modern Healthcare reported that Trump was planning an executive order to cut Title X funds from Planned Parenthood early this month. Axios followed up with a report that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway had walked Trump through information from anti-choice groups purporting to show that the loss of Planned Parenthood’s Title X services could easily be made up by other health centers.
According to Axios, Conway showed Trump a map prepared by the Religious Right group Alliance Defending Freedom and by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, showing an apparent surplus of federally qualified health clinics as opposed to Planned Parenthood clinics in the state of Maine.
The Guttmacher Institute has found that because Planned Parenthood clinics “serve a disproportionately high share of clients who rely on the family planning safety net,” if Title X funds are cut from Planned Parenthood, federally qualified health clinics in 27 states—including Maine—“would have to at least double their contraceptive client caseloads.” What’s more, according a Rewire investigation, some of the health centers that Religious Right groups cite as potential replacements for Planned Parenthood do not provide contraception.
On Monday, the leaders of a number of anti-choice groups including the Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, National Right to Life’s Carol Tobias and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, urging him to “separate the Title X network of family planning providers from abortionists like Planned Parenthood.”
SBA List and other anti-choice activist groups have been contacting their members to urge the White House to cut off Planned Parenthood.