The Trump administration says it has reallocated $34 million in federal funds given up by Planned Parenthood and other providers that did not want to comply with new abortion restrictions on a federal family planning program.
The money will instead go to 50 grantees that decided to remain in the Title X family planning grant program, which funds birth control and other reproductive health services for millions of low-income women and men.
Planned Parenthood, and some states run by Democrats, including Illinois, New York, and Oregon, forfeited the money this summer and left the program after the Trump administration began enforcing new rules that ban providers from referring women for abortion.
Critics say the changes are a “gag rule” that prevent providers from having honest discussions with their patients about abortion.
“The Trump administration is frantically scrambling to try to fill the gaps in care created through its own unethical gag rule,” said Jacqueline Ayers, Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America in a statement.
“If the Trump administration truly wanted to expand access to birth control they would repeal the gag rule and allow our nation’s program for affordable birth control do what it does best — provide birth control. Instead the Trump administration continues to fall far short of preserving access to care for patients who need it the most.”
While Title X funds don’t cover abortion, the Trump administration argues federal funds should support organizations that support abortion as a method of family planning.
Planned Parenthood, which is suing over the rules, had served more than 40 percent of Title X patients, and its departure left a large gap in the program.
The Department of Health and Human Services said Monday reallocating the money would help fill “service gaps left by the grantees that chose to leave the Title X program rather than comply with the law.
The funding was awarded to grantees in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and other states.
Updated at 6:43 p.m.