Speech by NC NOW President Gailya Paliga, at the 5/22/18 Tuesdays With Tillis event, which was organized by NC NOW, Naral Pro-choice NC and the Tuesdays With Tillis group. Topics were Crisis Pregnancy Centers, presented by Tara Romano, Executive Director of Naral Pro-choice NC and the Trump Administration’s latest attack on family planning, women and Planned Parenthood, by Gailya Paliga.
Note: Extra information and notes are in italics. Articles used in writing of this speech are listed at the end.
Today I’m talking about the latest attack on women, as the Trump administration made new moves to defund Planned Parenthood (PP) and interfere with the doctor/patient relationship via a terrible new gag rule.
I’m going to review what PP provides, how it’s funded and what the Trump Administration did.
What PP Provides for us
PP provides health care to 2 ½ million people a year! (According to Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund since 2006.)
Planned Parenthood’s affiliated clinics provide wellness exams and comprehensive contraceptive services (birth control), as well as screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases for both women and men.
Some clinics provide abortion services using non-federal funds. (Note: used to be able to use federal funds for this, and we would argue that you still should be able to since it’s medical care.)
Other services: Planned Parenthood does 700,000 HIV tests a year!
Already, in many counties, Planned Parenthood health centers are the only places that provide uninsured people or people with low incomes the reproductive care they need.
How PP is funded
Most of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding is from Medicaid reimbursements for preventive care, and some is from Title X. (The X is a 10, it’s Title Ten)
(Angry note from PP – There’s no keep-Planned-Parenthood-running part of the federal budget!)
At least 60% of Planned Parenthood patients rely on public health programs like Medicaid and Title X for their preventive and primary care.
Planned Parenthood provides all of these services, and is paid back for some of them through federal health programs (of Medicaid and Title X). So basically, the federal programs work like insurance. PP provides the services, and then files for payment from the federal health programs.
We’ve heard a lot about Medicaid in NC – progressives and conservatives recognize the value of expanding it in NC as a win on all counts – helping more low income, working people, bringing billions of dollars of federal money into the state, and providing jobs all over the state. (Note: It’s a real no brainer to expand it.) But we know less about Title X.
According to Wikipedia: Medicaid is a health care program that assists low-income families or individuals in paying for doctor visits, hospital stays, long-term medical, custodial care costs and more. Medicaid is a joint program, funded primarily by the federal government and run at the state level, where coverage may vary.
Title X is a federal family planning program. It became law in 1970.
(According to Wikipedia: Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. …
Its overall purpose is to promote positive birth outcomes and healthy families by allowing individuals to decide the number and spacing of their children. It is named for its section in the federal Public Health Service Act.)
Title X provides wellness exams and comprehensive contraceptive services, as well as screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases for both women and men.
In 2016, Title X served 4 million patients at just under 4,000 sites.
Note: 2016 was the most recent year for which statistics have been published.
Title X patients are overwhelmingly young, female and low-income. An estimated 11 percent of Title X patients in 2016 were male; two-thirds of patients were under age 30; and nearly two-thirds had income below the federal poverty line.
(Title X provides at least $260 million annually for contraception, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive health services to millions of low-income people.)
Now we have a better idea of what Planned Parenthood does, who it helps, and how it is compensated from the federal government.
(Planned Parenthood is such a visible provider and vocal proponent of legal abortion services. But they do much more than that.)
History of attacks:
I know we’ve been hearing about years of attacks from some conservatives in Congress who have been obsessed with getting rid of the Planned Parenthood organization. But you may not realize how long attacks have been going on.
Fake videos were made before 2007. But other attacks were made long before that.
The Reagan administration went after PP in the early 1980s! The Reagan administration tried to separate the program from its federal funding by requiring parental permission for teens to obtain birth control. And that was followed by efforts to eliminate abortion counseling. In fact, a 1989 Reagan administration rule is the precursor to the new one from Trump !
(More attacks: Starting in 2011, in an effort to get the organization defunded, undercover groups accused the organization of ignoring sex traffickers and selling fetal body parts. Planned Parenthood denied the allegations, which were proved false in court.)
Our federal government brought to brink of shutdown because of conservatives trying to defund PP in 2011. Do you remember that?
Do you remember the mass of fake videos released in summer of 2015? That was a mess, and initiated multiple new efforts to defund PP. Even though the videos were proven to be made up. A defund bill finally passed the US House and Senate, and was thankfully stopped by President Obama. The fake videos also initiated a large increase in violent attacks on PP Health Centers. See False Videos Inspire Violence Against PP, 11/12/15.
The latest attack came from the Trump-Pence administration last Friday, 5/18/18 A rule the Trump administration proposed would (according to NPR)
- prohibit doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country from being able to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion (it bans abortion referrals). Hence it is called a GAG RULE – prohibits medical personnel from honestly answering their patients.
- It imposes new rules on facilities – so that facilities receiving federal family planning funds to be physically separate from those that perform abortion.
- It eliminate the requirement that women with unintended pregnancies be counseled on their full range of reproductive options
(so women don’t need to be told about abortions!)
All those changes would particularly affect Planned Parenthood.
Preventing those patients from going to Planned Parenthood (not covering it and forcing some PP sites to close) would mean many [patients] are left with nowhere else to go, leaving them without access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams. But it doesn’t stop there.
The gag rule would apply to 4,000 Title X-funded health care providers across the country, including community health centers, hospital-based clinics, and health departments.
Other health care providers have been clear — they couldn’t fill the gap if Planned Parenthood were no longer allowed to serve these patients. Already, in many counties, Planned Parenthood health centers are the only places that provide uninsured people or people with low incomes the reproductive care they need. (PP)
Status of Proposal
Administration officials submitted the proposed rules to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
All proposed rules are reviewed by the OMB. Sometimes they emerge and are published in a few days; sometimes they are rewritten, and it takes months.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood officials say they will not know whether they will take legal action until they see the final language of the rule. But they say they do plan to use the regulatory process to fight the proposed changes that have been made public so far.
This craziness just happened!
Funneling money to fake women’s clinics while defunding Planned Parenthood sends a clear message that our leadership does not care about women’s health; especially low-income women.
- What Does Trump’s Proposal To Cut Planned Parenthood Funds Mean? 5/18/18, 6:51pm at https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/05/18/612445385/what-does-trumps-proposal-to-cut-planned-parenthood-funds-mean
- Clinics That Refer Women For Abortions Would Not Get Federal Funds Under New Rule,” 5/18/18, 2:27am at https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/18/612222570/white-house-to-ban-federal-funds-for-clinics-that-discuss-abortion-with-patients
- How Federal Funding Works at Planned Parenthood, 1/5/17, at https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/how-federal-funding-works-at-planned-parenthood
- How Defunding Planned Parenthood Could Affect Healthcare, 5/9/17, at https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-defunding-planned-parenthood-could-affect-health-care/
- The Recent History of Political Attacks on Planned Parenthood, 1/4/17, at https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/the-recent-history-of-political-attacks-on-planned-parenthood