The Protect Life Rule recently implemented by the Trump administration left Planned Parenthood with options. One option was to comply with the Protect Life Rule. Compliance would mean that Planned Parenthood’s Title X family planning programs, which provide “access to contraceptive services, supplies and information,” would have to stop referring patients for abortions and would have to stop sharing space with Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities. The other option was to end its participation in Title X family planning programs and refuse to accept approximately $60 million in federal funds.
Planned Parenthood tried very hard to avoid making this choice. The organization challenged the Protect Life Rule in court and asked the court to block the rule from being implemented until its lawsuit was resolved. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to block the implementation of the Protect Life Rule while Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit proceeds.
Faced with a looming government deadline, Planned Parenthood made its choice. On August 19, the organization announced that it would no longer participate in Title X family planning programs. This decision is welcome news, as it will deprive the organization of a good deal of money and uphold the rule of law. The federal government should have no role in providing contraceptives in the first place. However, if it is going to involve itself in family planning, the least it can do is refrain from becoming entangled with abortion.
Predictably, Planned Parenthood is none too pleased at being pressured into choosing between one of its cash cows (the federal government) and its main cash cow (abortion). The organization has responded to this situation by lashing out with a series of dishonest and misleading attacks against the Protect Life Rule and the Trump administration, and has been aided and abetted by the media in doing so.
Among these dishonest and misleading attacks are the following:
- Planned Parenthood was forced out of participating in Title X. Planned Parenthood could have opted to comply with the Protect Life Rule and remain involved with Title X. It made its own decision.
- Planned Parenthood made a principled decision to opt out of a program that would have prevented doctors from having honest conversations with their patients. Planned Parenthood’s characterization of the Protect Life Rule as a “gag rule” is false.
- Planned Parenthood will suffer financially because of its decision to back out of Title X. If true, this would be a good thing—but it isn’t true. In the United States alone, Planned Parenthood has approximately $1.9 billion in assets, took in $1.67 billion in revenue in 2018, and netted a profit of nearly $245 million during the same year. Don’t believe Planned Parenthood when it cries poverty.
- The Protect Life Rule will cause low-income women to go without needed birth control and other health services, and could lead to a health crisis. Various contraceptive devices are readily accessible at a reasonable cost in the United States. Married couples that elect to use contraception can be responsible enough to obtain it without needing government assistance to do so. It is not the government’s job to manage the reproductive lives of Americans. If Planned Parenthood truly believes that its departure from the Title X program will have dire consequences, why did it leave?