RIGHT TO LIFE: President Trump Defunding Planned Parenthood, Shifting Funds To Pregnancy Centers!

Another great move by our President!


You just gotta love our President.

Just when his enemies think they’ve boxed him into a corner by allocating funds to “family planning centers” in the omnibus bill they made him sign, he turns the tables on them.

The allocation of funds were to a specific use, but Trump is turning that on its head, shifting the funds from pro-abortion Planned Parenthood to faith-driven, pro-life Pregnancy Centers!

Genius!

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Here's more on the story, from Politico:

he 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.

One controversial administration proposal, which could be finalized in the next month or so, would let faith-based clinics compete for Title X family planning money — much of which now goes to Planned Parenthood. That move is being challenged in a federal appeals court.

So-called crisis pregnancy centers, which offer limited services such as pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and certain supports for women with unplanned pregnancies, have been increasing in number for several years; there are now about 2,530 of them, according to a mapping project from the University of Georgia College of Public Health — or around 2,750, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.

Now, some are trying to become anti-abortion, abstinence-promoting alternatives to Planned Parenthood clinics.

“I didn’t recreate the wheel,” said Kathleen Eaton Bravo, the CEO of the Obria Group, a nonprofit chain of clinics that’s now expanding beyond the West Coast. The chain has been adding medical services as part of its long-term vision — one that also lets it bill insurers and qualify for government funds. "I’m using Planned Parenthood’s model, and it’s working."

Scrapping the quotes from Scripture displayed on their walls, some pregnancy crisis centers are becoming licensed clinics by adding health services like prenatal care, sexually transmitted disease testing or treatment, and “natural family planning” or fertility awareness — though not FDA-approved contraceptives like birth control pills or condoms, and certainly not abortions or abortion counseling.

The federal government rejected Obria this year for Title X family planning grants because, under the current rules, the Trump administration still requires grantees to include a provider that offers hormonal birth control. Obria plans to reapply by partnering with a health center that provides contraception, though not abortion.

“There’s a growing trend of these centers becoming more medicalized,” said Andrea Swartzendruber, an assistant professor who led the Georgia survey of the clinics. So far only a fraction have switched from pregnancy counseling sites to clinics — about a fifth offer STD testing — but the numbers are growing. Lozier’s Chuck Donovan said the number of clinics offering STD testing and treatment had more than doubled over the past decade, to 487 in 2017.

Once licensed, the clinics can bill Medicaid and private insurers and tap into some federal grants for women and babies’ health. So far they haven’t gotten money from Title X — the $260 million federal family planning program — but that could change under the administration policy now being finalized.

Based in Orange County, Calif., the Obria Group is on the front lines of this trend. Bravo, the founder, calls her clinics a “holistic” and “comprehensive” alternative to Planned Parenthood. She recently visited some pregnancy crisis centers in Port Angeles, Wash., a city of just under 20,000 on the Olympic Peninsula, that are going to add medical services as they come into Obria’s fold.

Growing from three centers and a mobile van, Obria now has 30 clinics in five states — the more liberal California, Oregon and Washington and the more conservative Iowa and Georgia — and aims to reach 200 sites by 2021. That would cost about $90 million — $300,000 to $500,000 per clinic for upgrades. Obria would raise a lot of that through donations, but also hopes to finance expansion with Title X funds, according to Mauricio Leone, Obria’s chief operating officer, who is transitioning into a new role as executive director. 

Backers of fuller reproductive health services for women see nothing comprehensive or “holistic” about clinics that don’t offer a broad range of contraceptive choices, including condoms, and oppose abortion in all circumstances. They also see the move away from vaguely religious-sounding names — like My Choices or Life Choices — to a more corporate sound like Obria as a way to confuse women who go to these clinics not realizing they will be steered away from abortion as an option.

“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.

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The efforts have drawn lawsuits, but a Judge has ruled in Trump's favor.

From LifeNews:

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the Trump Administration and its impending decision to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business from the Nations Title X family planning program. The Planned Parenthood abortion company has multiple federal funding streams, but cutting off the taxpayer dollars it gets from Title X would zap its second largest source of federal funding.

At issue are new guidelines for Title X grants, which fund family planning programs across the country. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services introduced a new grant application that prioritizes sexual risk avoidance strategies, including abstinence. That decision would leave abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood out of the funding equation.

Even though HHS is only in the grant-making phase of the process and has yet to formally deny funding to the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood went ahead and sued anyway. Planned Parenthood’s legal challenge claims the new guidelines in the Federal Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will put low-income patients at risk. The abortion group receives about $50 million to $60 million in taxpayer-funded Title X grants.

Today, a federal judge ruled Planned Parenthood filed it’s lawsuit prematurely before it had been defunded.

“The Plaintiffs ask this Court to intervene before anything of legal effect has occurred,” wrote McFadden in a 38-page opinion. “Courts cannot review substantive objections to a non-final agency action, nor can they require formal rulemaking for change in agency procedure.”

Going further, McFadden said the department soundly argued that the policy change was about “how an agency decision will be made, and is not a final agency action itself.” Because of that distinction, Planned Parenthood does not yet have grounds for the agency’s policy to be reviewed, the judge wrote.

“This announcement was simply a solicitation of offers, kicking off an application process that will result in legally binding contracts only after offers are accepted and grants are awarded,” McFadden wrote.

In February, Valerie Huber, acting deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Population Affairs at HHS, said their goal is to fund Title X programs that effectively teach sexual risk avoidance.

“This is a program that’s important to the administration and we think its really important to make some meaningful changes to extend the coverage of the program,” Huber said.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins slammed the lawsuit as based in “greed.”

“Planned Parenthood and abortion vendors seem terrified that people will discover just how easy it will be to live a healthy life without them,” Hawkins said. “People make many medical choices that don’t include Planned Parenthood, and the Trump Administration is to be commended for attempting to redirect Title X dollars away from abortion vendors. … The greed of the abortion lobby is on display as once again they go to court to force taxpayers to fund their enterprise.”

Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications at Susan B. Anthony List, also criticized the abortion group for having an entitlement mentality.

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And from CourtHouseNews:

A federal judge on Monday sided with the government in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and two of its affiliates that argued Trump administration changes to the federal Title X funding limit the care they can provide to women.

The lawsuit, which was filed in May, claims recent changes in Department of Health and Human Services policy unfairly benefited religious organizations and violated sections of Title X, the federal funding program which offers money for family planning services provided by groups like Planned Parenthood.

The new HHS policy stressed advocacy for “the research informed benefits of delaying sex” and “cooperation with community-based and faith-based organizations.”

In a statement released with the filing of their lawsuit, the plaintiffs said the changes were “illegal” and would result in “devastating consequences and threaten health care for millions.”

But U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Donald Trump appointee, said the plaintiffs’ challenge was premature.

“The Plaintiffs ask this Court to intervene before anything of legal effect has occurred,” wrote McFadden in a 38-page opinion. “Courts cannot review substantive objections to a non-final agency action, nor can they require formal rulemaking for change in agency procedure.”

Going further, McFadden said the department soundly argued that the policy change was about “how an agency decision will be made, and is not a final agency action itself.” Because of that distinction, Planned Parenthood does not yet have grounds for the agency’s policy to be reviewed, the judge wrote.

“This announcement was simply a solicitation of offers, kicking off an application process that will result in legally binding contracts only after offers are accepted and grants are awarded,” McFadden wrote.

Representatives of the aprties did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Courthouse News.

Title X was signed into law in 1970 to provide low income individuals with access to family planning services as well STD testing, wellness exams and other services. According to Planned Parenthood, the money allocated under the program — $286.5 million in FY 2017 — supports about 4,000 health centers across the country. And while Planned Parenthood only receives about 13 percent of the allotted funds, it serves 41% percent of all Title X patients.

Under the both the Bush and Obama administrations, grants added a focus on “related preventative health services” intended to enhance “the overall health of individuals,” instead of just reproductive health. The Bush administration also prioritized the awarding of grants to groups that partnerd with faith-based organizations. The Obama administration rolled back that policy in 2009.

While Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics are eligible to receive Title X money, they have been barred from spending it on abortions, except in limited instances, since 1976.

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