Donald Trump is one of the last people who should be offering women advice on, well, anything. But it’s especially true when it comes to family planning issues.
It’s appalling that this president wants to strip Title X federal funding from family planning clinics that provide abortions or refer patients to places that do. The direct attack on Planned Parenthood will have a negative impact on 850,000 women throughout California, most of whom are low-income and do not have the resources to go elsewhere.
The Trump administration proposed the new rule in May. Californians should flood the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website with their responses before the July 31 deadline for public comment.
The beauty of the Title X program is this: Congress recognized in 1970 that millions of women did not have the resources to access family planning services and other essential health care. Title X makes that possible. Nearly two-thirds of the 4 million people receiving services provided by Title X funds have incomes that place them below the federal poverty line.
It’s important to understand that no Title X funds go to provide abortions. Here’s what the $286 million in funding does fund: breast and cervical cancer detection, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing and contraception.
The program gets results. The government estimates it helps prevent nearly 2 million unintended pregnancies every year that statistics show would have led some 275,000 women to seek abortions. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that for every dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save $7, or roughly $13 billion a year.
Closer to home, Title X funds provide 20 percent of the funds for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s 35 clinics, including 12 in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. That includes outreach and comprehensive s*x-education presentations at homeless shelters run by Life Moves, the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall and through The Hub to foster youth
The Trump administration is using TItle X to attack Planned Parenthood because a small percentage of Planned Parenthood’s services — 3 percent — go to providing abortions.
The president likely has no idea that Planned Parenthood Mar Monte alone schedules about 8,000 health care visits per week in Northern California and Nevada. If its funding goes away, more than 240,000 patients would lose access to this type of preventive health care, the kind that saves vast amounts of public money.
Planned Parenthood doesn’t deserve the Trump administration attacks.
Planned Parenthood is in large part directly responsible for the fact that the teenage pregnancy rate in the United States has been steadily declining for the past three decades. Family planning education and birth control work — giving young women opportunities they need to obtain high school, and college and graduate degrees, leading to higher, steadier incomes and greater financial independence.
If Trump wants to improve the lives of women in the United States, he should be offering more funding to Title X programs, not threatening to take critical health care services.
Editorial: Trump plan would decimate women’s access to family planning