The Trump administration will announce Friday long-sought cuts in federal funding to Planned Parenthood, multiple news outlets reported.
The proposed rule change in Title X, a $260 million federal program for contraception and “family planning,” will interpret the 1970 law as requiring absolute separation between contraception and abortion activities, effectively making Planned Parenthood ineligible.
“The proposal would require a bright line of physical as well as financial separation between Title X programs and any program (or facility) where abortion is performed, supported, or referred for as a method of family planning,” a Trump administration official said in an email to the Weekly Standard.
The law says that “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
However, except for a brief period in the Reagan administration, federal bureaucrats have interpreted that as merely requiring that federal money not directly fund abortions, a stance pro-lifers have criticized as defanging the policy because, among other reasons, money is fungible.
The Trump official told the Weekly Standard that the proposal doesn’t actually guarantee no federal money goes to Planned Parenthood — though the money would come at a price that America’s largest abortion provider has always called unacceptable and sued when states trying to impose similar restrictions.
“This proposal does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood, as long as they’re willing to disentangle taxpayer funds from abortion as a method of family planning, which is required by the Title X law. Any grantees that perform, support, or refer for abortion have a choice – disentangle themselves from abortion or fund their activities with privately raised funds,” the official told the Standard.
Even apart from that, much of the hundreds of millions in annual federal money Planned Parenthood gets comes from Medicaid, which would not be affected by the rule change. Cutting it off would require legislation.