Planned Parenthood announced Monday it refuses to comply with a Trump administration rule barring health care providers from making abortion referrals and will withdraw from a federal family planning program.
The decision won’t have a major effect in Washington since the state stopped taking federal Title X funding in July. Instead, Washington uses state funds to support family planning health care providers.
“Washington has a long legacy of standing up for reproductive health,” said Paul Dillon, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Idaho spokesman. “This is very much in line with that. If you go back, we were the first state to pass Roe v. Wade at the ballot before the court decision even came down in 1970.”
Abortions cannot be paid for with federal funding.
Through Title X – the federal family planning program – Planned Parenthood provided services such as breast cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection testing, contraceptive care and more. The new rule implemented by the Trump administration stated a health care provider could not accept Title X funding if it provided abortion referrals.
Providers who receive Title X funding were supposed to submit plans of compliance with the new rule on Monday.
Gov. Jay Inslee pledged the state would make up the difference while Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson challenged the rule in court.
“This is a reckless and dangerous rule that runs counter to the intent of the program, counter to our state’s Reproductive Parity Act, and counter to the obligation for every doctor to care for their patients based on sound medical practice – not ideology,” Inslee said in a statement on July 30.
Sen. Patty Murray issued a report in May 2018 that studied the effects of the new rule on Washington state. The report found that 80% of those who received contraceptive care through Title X went through Planned Parenthood, and if Planned Parenthood was excluded from the funding, the remaining Title X sites would have to increase their contraceptive caseloads by 406%.
“I stand with Planned Parenthood and the millions of people across the country they provide care for each year – as should everyone who cares about access to birth control, STI screenings, cancer screenings, or substance use treatment, or a woman’s right to know about her full range of reproductive health care options,” Sen. Murray said in a statement.
Dillon said patients had already been traveling to Washington clinics from Montana, Idaho and Oregon to receive health care prior to clinics across the country losing Title X funding. Dillon added that those most affected by this rule change are minorities, the LGBT community and people who live in rural areas.
“We are the sole provider in the region for reproductive health care,” Dillon said. “We do everything we can do to keep health care accessible and affordable. I think this rule would be disastrous to the health care infrastructure in this country.”
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