The Truth About Planned Parenthood Funding

The Trump administration has officially started moving to fulfill the president’s campaign promise of defunding Planned Parenthood. But what exactly is Planned Parenthood and why does it deserve funding in the first place?

There is a common misconception that Planned Parenthood is only used to provide birth control and abortions. There is actually a whole array of services that Planned Parenthood provides such as STD and HIV testing and treatment, pap tests, vaccines, pregnancy services and transgender health services. They also provide screening for reproductive cancers. In fact, in the 2017-2018 year, Planned Parenthood treated 70,193 women whose cancer was detected early or whose abnormalities were identified. They reach out to 1.5 million teenagers and young adults per year and are known as the nation’s largest provider of sex education.

Not only does Planned Parenthood provide services for women, but they also do the same for men. Men can rely on Planned Parenthood for STI testing and treatment, condoms, cancer screenings, vasectomies, infertility screening, erectile dysfunction, UTI testing and treatment and physical exams. In 2014, Planned Parenthood treated more than 250,000 male patients.

So how exactly is Planned Parenthood currently being funded? Planned Parenthood receives its funding through government grants and reimbursements, as well as through private donations and bequests. Many Planned Parenthood patients rely on public healthcare like Medicaid and Title X for medical treatment, and Planned Parenthood gets reimbursed by the government for these programs.

The Trump administration is currently in the process of issuing new guidelines for Title X, stating that “none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning and related statutory requirements”. Planned Parenthood is expected to lose $60 million of their annual funding. This revision will not completely end funding for Planned Parenthood; they will still receive funding from Medicare. However, Title X is currently providing affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare to over 4 million people annually, especially to those with low incomes.

The new rule will no longer allow doctors to refer a patient for abortion and will prevent doctors and nurses from providing their patients with full information about their healthcare options, which some view as interfering with the patient-physician relationship and undermines the patient's rights to know what healthcare options are available to them. The new guideline states that federally funded family planning clinics must maintain a “clear physical and financial separation” between services funded by the government and any organization that provides abortions or abortion referrals.

The debate is no longer just about abortion. Planned Parenthood provides so many other important services to millions of people a year. With the new Title X guidelines, those 4 million people that rely on Title X for any of the services Planned Parenthood offers may not be able to afford or receive the treatment that they need.