In a move seen by many as a last attempt to have the final word regarding Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration issued a rule that bans states from not funding the organization for political reasons. The rule will become effective starting Jan. 18, just two days before Donald Trump begins his term as the President of the United States.
A Last Attempt To Save Planned Parenthood?
The new rule from Health and Human Services was revealed in a very complex context. Several states have already shown their intention of reducing or even cutting completely the funding Planned Parenthood receives due to the fact that abortions are among the services provided by the organization.
Even though the funding received by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates through programs such as Title X cannot be used for abortions (except for particular circumstances), many groups oppose the move and consider it as one last attempt to impose the status quo upon the new president.
President-elect Donald Trump has shown interest in cutting the funding of organizations that also provide abortions and it is very likely that both Trump and his choice as HHS secretary, Tom Price, will fight the rule.
The process will be lengthy and complicated, so Planned Parenthood's situation remains unclear for the moment. Nevertheless, it is very unlikely for the rule to stay in its current form, as its opponents, such as U.S. Rep. Diane Black, are quite vocal about their opinions and expect Donald Trump to respect his promises.
"President Obama knows that hope is rising for the innocent victims of Planned Parenthood's brutality and the big abortion industry's days of taxpayer-funded windfalls are numbered," she noted.
On the other hand, there are many supporters of this last effort as well. The $500 million currently received by Planned Parenthood allow it to provide necessary health services, especially to people who would otherwise not be able to access them.
Dr. Karen A. Scott, from the Department of Health and Human Services was among those showing support in favor of the rule.
"This rule will strengthen access to essential services like cancer screenings and contraception for some of the most vulnerable patients in this country," Scott explained.
A Thorny Issue
Currently, according to law, federal funds cannot be used to pay for abortions, with the exception of cases such as rape, incest, or pregnancies that jeopardize the mother's life. About 68 percent of all Americans and 51 percent of those who declare themselves to be prochoice do not agree with using federal money for abortion services.
However, federal funds are used for providing other services related to reproductive health through programs like Title X. In this case, each individual state receives the money and directs it to organizations like Planned Parenthood, which show their ability to provide the health services mentioned by the Title X guidelines.
Planned Parenthood came under intense scrutiny recently due to a series of videos in which staff members discussed the sale of fetal tissues. No one was charged with any crime in relation to the videos. At present, 10 percent of the healthcare providers that get funding through Title X are affiliated with Planned Parenthood.