Why abortion opponents support Trump’s Title X rule change


JUDY WOODRUFF: A new rule from the Trump administration
would change what kinds of family planning clinics can receive federal funding. It is being celebrated by conservative anti-abortion
groups and raising alarms among abortion rights organizations. William Brangham explains: WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The rule change involves
Title X, the federal program providing birth control and reproductive health care to an
estimated four million low-income women. The new rule says any group receiving Title
X money has to be physically and financially separate from any group that provides or refers
women for abortions. Currently, those funds can’t be used to provide
abortions, but they can go to organizations that offer the procedure. Critics contend this rule would essentially
zero out groups like Planned Parenthood. The administration and conservative groups
counter that they simply want to support centers that put greater emphasis on natural family
planning and abstinence counseling. We start with first of two views. Doreen Denny is senior director of government
relations for Concerned Women of America. Welcome to the “NewsHour.” DOREEN DENNY, Concerned Women of America:
Thank you, William. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, I know your organization
was strongly supportive of this rule change. Why do you think it’s a good idea? DOREEN DENNY: Well, it’s important to realize
the Title 10 program from inception made was very clear that abortion is not a method of
family planning. And so this rule is just another opportunity
to make that statutory reality — restriction a reality. And I think it’s important that people understand
that the family planning program, the contraception, the education, the other screenings, the other
things that are really important for women and for low-income women, for any woman, will
continue to be the — really the bedrock of what this is all about. And so we’re now going to be in a place where
organizations that may have commingled those activities are going to have to make a choice. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, the main organization
you’re talking about here is Planned Parenthood. They’d argue that this is an attempt to zero
them out. And they argue that what happens to all the
other services that they provide in communities with lots of low-income women? Are there enough groups that could fill the
gap if they suddenly have to go away? Do you worry that that’s a possible concern? DOREEN DENNY: Well, I don’t worry, because,
right now, we have federally qualified health centers all over the country that could be
a part of this program and do provide services through the Title X program. We have other organizations that have applied. And maybe they haven’t been the ones that
have been selected, but are just as qualified. Remember, this is a small amount of federal
dollars, you know, considering the amount of health services that go out for family
planning in communities, whether through the states or other organizations. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you think that organizations
— some of the organizations you’re describing might be these so-called crisis pregnancy
centers, which really try to talk women out of having an abortion. Do you think that those organizations should
have access to federal money? DOREEN DENNY: Well, I think that it’s important
that all types of providers that want to serve women and do what’s best for their health
and well-being and the health of their child would be a part of this program. I don’t necessarily either — would even characterize
them as talking women out of abortion. I think we want to provide real, honest information
about what abortion is. And, unfortunately, I think that Planned Parenthood
has made abortion the bedrock of their business. And because of that, that’s just what they
do. And that’s what they’re known for. But it may not be the right thing for every
woman who maybe is in an unintended pregnancy situation. But the Title X program needs to be very clear
in its mission. And its mission is to provide family planning
services that do not consider abortion a method of family planning. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As you say, abortion isn’t
the right thing for every single woman. But, under these rules, any organization that
receives federal money can’t talk about abortion at all, can’t provide abortion at all, can’t
really even mention it. And do you really think that that is providing
for a woman an accurate and appropriate representation of what she should choose for herself? DOREEN DENNY: Well, I don’t think, William,
you actually accurately suggested that — well, you maintained that they couldn’t even talk
about it. And that’s just not the case under these rules. So, let me be clear about that. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, page 19 says: “A Title
X project may not perform, promote, refer for or support abortion as a method of family
planning, nor take any other affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.” DOREEN DENNY: Well, and that’s true in terms
of referring to a clinic that does abortion. They’re not required to do that any longer. That is something they were required to do. But it doesn’t preclude them from counseling
on abortion if a woman would want to know about abortion as an option. That’s very important. And it’s important to say that, because Planned
Parenthood has said there’s a gag rule order here. And that’s just not true. Counseling for abortion can still take place. It’s not required. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Only if a woman comes in
and says, I want to have an abortion, though. DOREEN DENNY: If — if she asks for information
about that. And then the clinic could also say, you know,
we don’t — we don’t have that as a part of what we do. And she can find another location that can. I mean, there are many ways of finding out
information in this day and age about places and what they do. We all have the Internet, so that’s always
a possibility. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Doreen Denny,
Concerned Women of America, thank you very much. DOREEN DENNY: Thank you, William.

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