Chicago, Ill., Feb 28, 2019 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- Ahead of a loss in federal funding, Planned Parenthood of Illinois have said they have no plans to drop any of its services in the state. The funding loss is expected to follow the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule, which places new restrictions on the use of Title X funds.
The Protect Life Rule was finalized on Feb. 22 and will come into effect in April. The policy forbids Title X family planning funds to be channeled to clinics that perform abortions, prohibits fund recipients from referring patients for abortions, and barrs funded programs from co-locating with abortion clinics.
The rule has been severely criticized by abortion providers and advocates, who have called it a “gag rule.”
Nine Democratic governors, including Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, co-signed a letter addressed to the Department of Health and Human Services demanding that the rule be rescinded. The letter also threatened legal action if the rule remained in place.
Pro-life advocates have welcomed the new measure. Marjorie Dannefelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, praised the move, saying that it was targeted at abortion provision alone and would not reduce other family planning services by “a single dime.”
“The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which violently ends the lives of more than 332,000 unborn babies a year and receives almost $60 million a year in Title X taxpayer dollars,” she said in a statement.
Under the current arrangement, family planning centers that received Title X funds can co-locate with an abortion clinic, and fund recipients were required to offer the option of referral for an abortion.
Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide currently receive about $60 million in federal funds annually from this program, more than 10 percent of the half-billion dollars in total federal funding it receives per year.
Over the last six months, Planned Parenthood of Illinois received about $2.5 million in Title X funds–about 40 percent of the total Title X funds distributed in the state–despite operating only 17 of the more than 70 clinics that received funds. In 2017, about 112,000 people in Illinois acquired birth control through Title X.
“We will not violate our own medical ethics, and because of what the gag rule does, which blocks patients from getting accurate information about their care, we won’t accept the money,” Julie Lynn, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune.
Lynn make it clear that Planned Parenthood of Illinois would adjust to ensure that their patients were still able to receive contraception, and forgo Title X funds.
Six days after the Protect Life Rule was finalized, Planned Parenthood of Illinois announced a new initiative, dubbed “Access Birth Control” (ABC), that would distribute contraception pills or devices, including IUDs, condoms, and Depo-Provera shots, free of charge to eligible persons.
It was not immediately clear as to how the new initiative is to be funded.
On its website, Planned Parenthood of Illinois said that the program will run through January of 2021, the end of President Donald Trump’s first presidential term, in apparent expectation of a victory for an opposition candidate more favorable to abortion.
In addition to the nine state governors, the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights have also indicated that they plan to sue the administration over the new rule.
The current policies were put in place during the Clinton administration in 1992, but the Supreme Court had previously upheld similar Title X rules in 1991.
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