Nearly 900 clinics have lost funding from a federal family-planning program since a Trump administration rule banned recipients from referring patients to abortion services, according to a new report.
Power to Decide, an unplanned pregnancy-prevention organization, estimated 876 clinics nationwide lost Title X funding after recipients refused to comply with the rule.
The loss of funding could prevent low-income women from getting affordable reproductive health care, the organization said, including cancer screenings and STD testing. Some women have gone without health services because of resulting higher costs, the report said.
Created nearly 50 years ago, Title X serves patients who are poor or don’t have health insurance by distributing $260 million in family planning grants annually. The program, which covers screenings and annual exams, does not fund abortions.
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Five states now lack Title X clinics, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Power to Decide. Program recipients in Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington all withdrew, saying the Trump administration rule would restrict patients’ ability to get an abortion and abortion counseling.
Planned Parenthood, which served 40% of all Title X patients before rejecting the funding in August, was the sole grantee in Utah. Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, previously told USA TODAY that Utah patients may see longer wait times or need to drive hundreds of miles for services.
“It will simply be impossible for other health centers to fill the gap,” Johnson said.
In an effort to fill the void, the Office of Population Affairs gave $33.6 million in supplemental funding to remaining Title X participants. A Kaiser Family Foundation report found the supplemental funding has not made up for the losses in 14 states, however.
Paloma Zuleta, director of media relations at Power to Decide, told NBC that clinic changes will especially affect low-income women of color.
“If clinics can no longer open early anymore or they can no longer keep late hours because their funding is so different or if they have to lay people off, it’s a deterrent for women to be able to access the health care that they need,” Zuleta said.
Planned Parenthood sued the Trump administration in March to block the rule that prohibits it from providing abortion referrals to Title X patients. The American Medical Association was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit. While three district courts sided with Planned Parenthood, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the rule to take effect. The cases are ongoing.
Contributing: Nicquel Terry Ellis, USA TODAY.