Big Abortion Screams Foul As the Trump Administration Lets Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers Cut Into Their Profits

One of the ongoing frustrations in the pro-life movement is the seeming inability of the federal government to stop funding abortion mills. Each year about 40% of Title X Family Planning grants, or some $60 million, goes to Planned Parenthood. Even though Planned Parenthood is not allowed to use those funds to pay for abortions, they use the lure of the “family planning” clinic as a marketing gimmick, a bait-and-switch, to lure poor women in (notice how the underlying philosophy of Margaret Sanger is very much alive in who Planned Parenthood targets because the abortion rate among black women exceeds the rate of live births) with the promise of prenatal care and close the sale with an abortion.


Now, the administration of Donald Trump is doing something never attempted by George Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services. It is rewriting Title X regulations so as to cut Planned Parenthood off this gravy train. From the abortion-loving Kaiser Family Foundation:

The Trump administration has taken numerous steps to alter significantly the Title X program, the federal grant program that supports family planning services to low-income women. These actions would block the availability of federal funds to family planning providers that also offer abortion services like Planned Parenthood, curtail counseling and referrals to abortion services by Title X funded providers, and direct new funds to faith-based and other organizations that promote fertility awareness and abstinence as methods of family planning.

Require that Title X funded activities have full physical and financial separation from abortion-related activities. In addition to separate accounting and electronic and paper health records, providers would need to have separate treatment, consultation, examination and waiting rooms, office entrances and exits, workstations, signs, phone numbers, email addresses, educational services, websites, and staff. This new requirement would essentially disqualify any provider from receiving Title X funds if they also offered abortions.

Prohibit grantees and subrecipients from participating in a variety of “activities that encourage abortion” including lobbying, attending an event during which they engage in lobbying, or paying dues to a group that uses the funds for lobbying. The proposed regulations are nearly identical regulations issued under President Reagan (Appendix 1), which were legally challenged by Title X projects and providers, but were ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court in Rust v. Sullivan in 1991 [link inserted by me].


What this does is require Title X to have a full, arms-length separation from any abortion provider. If Planned Parenthood wishes to compete for Title X funds it can, but it must completely spin that portion of the business off and the executives of that firm can’t participate in Planned Parenthood’s lobbying efforts, even by giving money. This means no more “shared staff,” no more “shared office space.” The overhead for each entity has to be pure. And the grantees can’t pitch abortion as a solution to a pregnancy.

What has the baby-killing industry even more upset is that the administration is encouraging new grant applications from faith-based organizations:

Anti-abortion family planning clinics are increasingly vying for the same federal funds that go to Planned Parenthood, signaling a major change in federal policy being pushed by the Trump administration.

This new front in the abortion wars comes as conservatives have largely given up on completely defunding Planned Parenthood, so they’re trying to use the rules to their advantage, pushing for faith-driven women’s clinics to apply for those same federal funds to push an anti-abortion agenda.

“They’re getting more sophisticated,” said Kinsey Hasstedt, a policy expert at the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute, referring to “crisis pregnancy centers” and other women’s health centers that oppose abortion.

“Now they have an administration that’s supportive of the work they’re trying to do, and that’s setting the stage to open the door for more sources of funding for these sites,” Hasstedt added. Critics say these clinics can be confusing to women who seek care or advice about a pregnancy without realizing their religious and anti-abortion orientation.

“Their core is as a ‘fake’ women’s health center,” said Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California.

HHS’ embrace of these centers has critics in Congress, too.

“The challenge with this administration is they want to eliminate the ability of women to make that decision on their own, with their families, with their medical providers,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). “And that’s the objection I have.”

The build-out of these clinics comes as conservatives, who failed to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress, take their battles to the courts and the states. If they can’t cut off Planned Parenthood completely, they may be able to shift some of the money to places like Obria.

“I love the Obria model because they’re trying to take it to scale,” said Joneen Mackenzie, president of the Center for Relationship Education, a Denver-based organization that promotes abstinence-oriented sex ed. MacKenzie praised Obria’s “corporate-driven” and “professional” structure. The Lozier Institute’s Donovan, who is a member of Obria’s national advisory board, praises the marketing savvy that Bravo, who used to run an engineering contracting company, brings to her mission.

Bravo can survey a crisis pregnancy center, like the My Choices center that’s aligning with Obria here in Port Angeles, and see exactly how to convert it into a licensed clinic with a revenue stream. Turn the room in which baby clothes and new mom accessories are stored into a lab, she said. Transform meeting rooms into exam rooms, so they have four places, not one, for doctors and nurses to see patients — and bill for services.


A combination of low-cost non-profit crisis pregnancy centers adding capability and increasing the cost of Planned Parenthood to compete in that space could very well do more to reduce the number of abortions than any of the laws now being passed by states.

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