The dream of defunding Planned Parenthood might finally be becoming a reality, at least in part. Today, the abortion business announced that it will withdraw from the Title X program because it is unwilling to comply with new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations.
Planned Parenthood proclaimed that the loss of funding would “jeopardize” care for patients across the country. A dire statement that isn’t true, especially in the case of Planned Parenthood. The loss of more than $60 million in federal funds would force some organizations to close or undergo a drastic restructuring in order to survive, but the impact for the abortion business is likely minimal.
Last year, Planned Parenthood received $563,800,000 in federal funding alone. When it comes to “private contributions and bequests,” the organization received an additional $630,700,000, $100 million more than the previous year. Surely, the more than $1 billion raised over the last two years could more than offset the loss of just $60 million. If the organization wanted to declare its support for women, it could state that any Title X patient would still receive her or his care at no cost. The move would be a way to garner public support, but that’s unlikely to happen. After all, that would require Planned Parenthood to provide health care to patients and it doesn’t do much of that anymore.
The services covered by Title X, per Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s website, includes “wellness exams, cervical screenings (pap smears), breast cancer exams (not mammograms), birth control, contraception education, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV testing.” Those are all essential services that a health care organization claiming to specialize in reproductive care should do, but almost all of these have seen severe decreases at Planned Parenthood clinics over the years.
For example, breast exams have gone from a high of more than 1.1 million when first introduced in 1998 to only 296,310. In 1992, Planned Parenthood completed 1.7 million pap smears but last year only performed 274,145. Overall, cancer screenings have decreased by 69% since 2009. The only services that have increased are STD testing and services (286% since 1993) and abortion (139% since 1993). Nearly every other health program has suffered from a substantial decrease, and as a result patient care has suffered.
Planned Parenthood has no desire to change that trend. Dr. Leana Wen, the organization’s former president, was fired last month in part because she wanted to increase Planned Parenthood’s health services. Others wanted to focus solely on abortion policy and lobbying and Dr. Wen was pushed out at the expense of its patients.
HHS is right when it said, “(Planned Parenthood) is abandoning its obligations to serve their patients under the program.”
One of the new HHS stipulations simply requires Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses to physically and financially separate Title X services from abortion. Although there is a significant cost to that, not all clinics provide abortions and there is always the option of choosing patient care over abortion. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood won’t do that because abortion is incredibly profitable.
It’s been difficult to get Congressional support behind an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, but HHS regulations have succeeded where others have failed. Planned Parenthood is again forced to show the country that it cares more about money and abortion than health care. The organization hasn’t been fully defunded, but the Title X regulations are a start.