Amidst all the military action the president has been taking in Afghanistan and Syria, Donald Trump signed an order targeting Planned Parenthood, allowing states to do what they want with their Medicaid dough. Remember back late last year when President Obama signed an order that said that states couldn’t withhold federal money from any health clinic just because they performed abortions? That’s all gone now.
It doesn’t mean anything is going to happen to Planned Parenthood right away, but this is pretty big deal. The administration seems to know it, too, since Trump signed the order with little to no fanfare, and everyone knows how much Trump loves to talk about his big moves. The measure passed in Congress last month, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.
Here’s the rub though: No federal money ever goes to abortion.
That’s because every single piece of legislation about money and health always includes the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited federal money funding abortions ever since 1976.
Only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services go to abortion anyway. The bulk of their services are OB-GYN care, cervical cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, STD testing, and other services. When most anti-choice advocates talk about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, they mean not allowing Medicaid reimbursements for services. But with this new order, states can deny Planned Parenthood Title X money, which supports family planning clinics.
This will likely hurt Planned Parenthood, but it will hurt low income women more. According to BBC News, 80 percent of Title X patients earn 150 percent below the national poverty level. By denying Planned Parenthood, and other health clinics that perform abortion, Title X funds, they are denying basic healthcare, like STD testing, PAP smears, and prenatal care, to low income women (and their families.)
It will only get worse. Anti-choice lobbyist Marjorie Dannenfelser, of the Susan B. Anthony List applauded Trump for signing the legislation saying, “We expect to see Congress continue its efforts to redirect additional taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood through pro-life health care reform after the spring recess.”
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement:
Now’s the time to call your lawmakers when they get back from their spring break (or attend their town halls during the recess) that they need to reverse this. And donate to Planned Parenthood, which sadly might be the only option left with a Republican-led Congress.