Planned Parenthood is prepping for a battle. The organization, which has 115 centers in the Golden State and serves 850,000 people annually, receives Medi-Cal and Title X family planning funding and attributes about 40 percent of its revenue to federal dollars. But Congress and the Trump administration are vowing to strip the organization of hundreds of millions of federal dollars.
President Trump’s first act regarding family planning involved reinstating a decades-old rule to prohibit foreign nonprofits that receive U.S. funds from teaching about abortions or providing them. He’s not the only president to do this: The restriction, nicknamed the Global Gag Rule, has been instituted by previous Republican presidents and overturned by Democratic ones.
Then GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Congress would fast-track a provision to strip Planned Parenthood of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding, after a bitterly divided investigation panel recommended that the nation’s largest abortion provider lose its funding. Republicans on the panel suggested that some clinics and firms are illegally profiting from fetal-tissue transactions and that their business arrangements could create an incentive to perform more abortions—an allegation Democrats equated with McCarthy era smear tactics. “My hope is that this is going to provide the information that is necessary for action to be taken,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “This will be a Congress and an administration that will be known for standing for the women, for the protection of unborn children, and the protection of life.”.
That’s why in California, Planned Parenthood is prepping for a battle. The organization, which has 115 centers in the Golden State and serves 850,000 people annually, receives Medi-Cal and Title X family planning funding and attributes about 40 percent of its funding to federal dollars. Executives say 97 percent of the organization’s services are non-abortion related, including contraception, breast exams and other preventative care.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards came to Sacramento to meet with state Senate Democrats in early February, afterward telling reporters that any federal funding cuts to Planned Parenthood would not affect abortions—the federal government already prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions. Instead, she said, it would jeopardize other health services such as providing birth control, and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
Some abortion rights advocates warn that pro-choice states such as California—which have allowed Planned Parenthood to receive reimbursements for basic health care, including family planning services, to low-income patients—have, in effect, encouraged Planned Parenthood to become more dependent on federal funds here than in other states. In January, both houses of California’s Legislature passed resolutions pledging to protect Planned Parenthood and its services in the state.
Abortion rates are at a historic low in California—a development for which both sides of the debate are claiming credit.