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Planned Parenthood Withdraws From Title X Funding Over Trump's Abortion 'Gag Rule'

Planned Parenthood will no longer participate in the federal Title X program, which provides family planning services such as contraception to low-income individuals.

The organization reached this decision after President Donald Trump’s administration put restrictions on what groups receiving the money can say about abortion. The new rule, announced in February, said Title X recipients could still talk about abortion with their patients, but it prohibited them from giving people information about where to get an abortion, such as the name of a provider or the location of a clinic.

The Title X program provides $286 million annually to health care providers. Monday was the deadline for grantees to tell the Trump administration how it would comply with the new rule. Planned Parenthood treats more than 40% of the roughly 4 million people in the U.S. benefiting from Title X funding, according to the organization. 

It’s not clear how much of a financial hit the organization will take by giving up the federal money. 

“This is not about Planned Parenthood’s budget. This is about our patients. More fundamentally, this is about an attack on reproductive health care,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, the acting president of Planned Parenthood. 

She said the group is committed to keeping the doors of its affiliates open as long as possible and is working with them to figure out how to absorb the loss of funding.

Planned Parenthood will no longer be part of the federal Title X program because of new Trump administration restrictions. (Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

But patients will also be affected by the loss of funding. McGill Johnson said a mobile health clinic in Ohio, for example, will no longer be able to operate and go into the community to provide testing for sexually transmitted infections. She also said some patients would have long wait times for care or may forgo services. 

The Trump Title X rule also eliminates the long-standing requirement that pregnant patients hear about all other options, including abortion, adoption and counseling. 

The Trump administration has said the policy will ensure that taxpayer money is not being used to “indirectly fund abortions,” even though Title X already stipulates that grantees cannot use the funding for that purpose. Faith-based clinics that oppose abortion may now be eligible for federal funding. 

Planned Parenthood, other organizations and 21 states are challenging the administration’s “gag rule” in court. A number of states have also already said they won’t take Title X money anymore and would try to make up for the loss of federal dollars with state funds.

The House has passed a funding bill that blocks the Trump rule, but the Senate has yet to act. Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), two critical GOP senators on the committee with jurisdiction over the Title X program, have both said they are opposed to the gag rule. 

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.