Approximately 2.5 million women and men visit Planned Parenthood centers across the country each year. They go there for health services such as pregnancy prevention, cancer detection services like Pap smears and breast exams, and help treat all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases and offer HIV testing. One in five women either have or will visit a Planned Parenthood office in her lifetime. They also offer educational programs and community outreach to 1.5 million young adults and adults every year. Thanks to Planned Parenthood, millions of people have access to adequate sexual education, all kinds of methods of contraception, STD treatments, and (if they choose) abortions for unplanned pregnancies.
With the results of the election, so many of these services are at risk of being eliminated. Trump has openly expressed that he plans on overturning Roe v. Wade and defunding PP. For many, this could be the end of accessible healthcare and the end of female bodily autonomy as we know it. Early in his campaign, Trump was against defunding the program, but since then he’s flipped on that issue, going as far to suggest that women and doctors should be punished for performing the procedure. Mike Pence is much worse. He signed a law in Indiana to mandate funeral services for fetuses and used budget cuts to destroy Planned Parenthood in the midst of an HIV crisis.
The future is very, very uncertain. But there is one (small) ray of hope. Politicus U.S.A. first reported back in September that Obama planned on protecting Planned Parenthood with a Title X rule. If you’re wondering what that means exactly, we’ve got the answers.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “Title X serves women, men, and adolescents to enable individuals to freely determine the number and spacing of children. By law, services are provided to low-income individuals at no or reduced cost. Services provided through Title X-funded health centers assist in preventing unintended pregnancies and achieving pregnancies that result in positive birth outcomes. These services include contraceptive services, pregnancy testing and counseling, preconception health services, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and HIV testing and referral for treatment, services to aid with achieving pregnancy, basic infertility services, and screening for cervical and breast cancer. By statute, Title X funds are not available to programs where abortion is a method of family planning (PHSA sec. 1008), and no federal funds in Title X or any federal program may be expended for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother would be endangered.”
Long story short, Planned Parenthood meets all of these requirements with their services. Title X would defend Planned Parenthood against discriminatory funding practices from states (like the re-routing of funds into other programs, thus reducing quality care), but this is not as secure as it sounds. After Obama signed the Title X rule in September, it entered a 30 day public comment period. Now it’s up to the HHS to review these comments before issuing the final rule and it’ll take some time until Title X becomes effective (hopefully before January 20th).
The Title X rule only looks at the discriminatory funding practices of its recipients like Planned Parenthood, however. Title X itself does not have secured, permanent funding for the future. This means that if the Republican Congress and the Trump administration decided to end Title X funding, Planned Parenthood would be left with inadequate resources to support their services. On top of that, if Title X is enacted, states would not be able to harm Planned Parenthood monetarily, but that won’t put an end to the passing of laws restricting abortion services and their providers.
Now, more than ever, we need to help Planned Parenthood. While this is a potential victory, it could very easily come undone if the Trump administration chose to end the Title X program. The healthcare of millions of men, women, children, and adolescents is hanging in the balance. Donate to Planned Parenthood to help keep their doors open and look to get involved with the program as a volunteer in your state or take action by writing to conservative lawmakers.
(Photos via PP’s Instagram)
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