In the two months since the Trump administration implemented a domestic gag rule barring Title X funds from clinics that refer patients to abortion providers, a total of 876 reproductive health clinics have lost their funding, according to an estimate from a teen pregnancy prevention organization called Power to Decide.
The Title X program was created to provide free or low-cost health services like birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing to millions of low-income people, and clinics losing this critical funding disproportionately impacts women of color. This is precisely what critics of the gag rule warned the administration about, and it is precisely what has come to pass.
From NBC News:
Ginny Ehrlich, chief executive of Power to Decide, said the gag rule imposed an “ethical dilemma” on clinics providing quality care, leaving some counties “with no clinic that has Title X funds to support women’s needs.”
Clinics had to choose between halting family planning consultations or services that include abortion as a viable option and keep receiving Title X funds or, like Planned Parenthood, withdraw from the federal family planning program and continue to offer full services at their facilities while looking for alternate sources of funding such as donations or private grants.
And for clinics that forgo Title X funds while also lacking the war chest of larger organizations like Planned Parenthood, costs for basic services will go up.
Local responses to the domestic gag rule have been chaotic: according to Power to Decide, 15 states are losing some or all Title X funding; clinics receiving Title X funding in Oregon, Washington state, Utah, Vermont, and Maine have halted programs dependent on that funding, and the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 26 states have seen a drop in clinics using Title X programs.
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what’s actually going on here: the Trump administration is using this funding as a weapon to disenfranchise poor women and target communities of color, plain and simple.