Donald Trump just signed a resolution overturning an Obama rule protecting women’s health care. States will now have the power to withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
Republicans have been beating the “defund Planned Parenthood” drum for a long time now. I honestly don’t think that most of them even understand what that means. It’s just become one of their favorite talking points because their evangelical base wants abortion stopped, regardless of the cost or ramifications.
But here’s the thing. Defunding abortion providers will have no effect on the abortions themselves. If anything, it will increase the number of abortions because poor women will no longer have access to birth control.
Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has prevented government funds from going toward abortion. Right now women who want abortions pay cash themselves for the service. That includes Medicaid recipients.
The only people who will be affected by this move from Trump on Thursday are people below the poverty line who are on Medicaid. Defunding Planned Parenthood means that people on Medicaid will no longer have access to care. It does not stop the abortions.
Because of this resolution, states will now be able to take away Title X funding. This will not shut down Planned Parenthood. But it will hurt poor women who depend on Planned Parenthood for health care.
But then again, Republicans never let pesky facts or compassion to get in the way of their narrative.
As Huffington Post explains,
“The Title X federal family planning program, established by President Richard Nixon in 1970, subsidizes contraception, Pap smears and other preventative health care services for 4 million low-income Americans, roughly half of whom are uninsured. Planned Parenthood uses the $70 million it receives in Title X grants a year to serve 1.5 million patients ― about one-third of the patients in the program.
No Title X money can be used for abortion ― women who seek the procedure at Planned Parenthood must pay out of pocket ― but most Republicans are still opposed to granting public dollars to the organization.”
The Republicans’ failed health care bill attempted to take away Title X money from all Planned Parenthoods nationwide. Trump also tried to withhold the funding unless Planned Parenthood agreed to stop performing abortions. After losing both of those battles, Trump decided to let the states decide.
The executive vice president at Planned Parenthood, Dawn Laguens, said,
“People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and they will not stand for it.”
And based on polling, the vast majority of the country agrees with her.
Trump and the Republicans can never pass up the opportunity to be assholes. Signing this resolution is just the latest example of that.