A new Trump administration rule is barring health care providers who receive federal family planning dollars from making abortion referrals.
Opponents of the policy, including Planned Parenthood of Illinois, say the regulation is effectively a “gag rule” that prohibits doctors from telling patients about all of their health care options.
For that reason, the group will no longer accept the funding – known as Title X – as long as the new rule stays in effect.
Jennifer Welch is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. She says the new rule “means that medical professionals can’t tell their patients about abortion care, they cannot give referrals or information access to abortion” if they receive Title X funding.
The Title X program funds family planning services for low-income and uninsured individuals, and covers wellness checks and birth control consultations, among other things.
Welch says for now, her organization is making up the funding shortfall through private donations, but that that’s not a permanent solution.
“Philanthropy cannot replace fundamental care that should be funded by the government. And so Planned Parenthood of Illinois is making it up for now and still offering our patients critical care. But it’s hard for us to predict how long we can do that,” she said.
Earlier this month, the Pritzker administration announced that the Illinois Department of Public Health, another recipient of Title X funds, would stop accepting the money. Instead, the state will step in to provide the estimated $2.4 million if the new restriction remains in place through the end of the fiscal year.
But because Planned Parenthood of Illinois is a direct grantee from the federal government, the state intervention won’t impact them.
Welch says her organization sees 40% of Illinois patients who rely on Title X funded care.