Midnight on Monday this week was the deadline for healthcare providers receiving federal funds to demonstrate they would commit to no longer providing abortions. This requirement stems from the Department of Health and Human Services’ new Title X standard, the “Protect Life Rule,” which aims to ensure that health clinics engaged in abortion will no longer be eligible for federal tax dollars. In political protest, however, Planned Parenthood withdrew from receiving these funds altogether, misleadingly accusing HHS of instituting a “gag rule.”

When instituting the new Protect Life Rule, HHS officials took the initiative to offer groups like Planned Parenthood the opportunity to still receive funding if they would show that they are making a “good faith effort” to comply with the new standard. This isn’t an effort to callously rip healthcare funding away from low income communities. But that is how Planned Parenthood and much of the media have portrayed the situation, claiming that supporters of life want to take away resources from women. 

Knowing Planned Parenthood’s abortion services growth rate, it’s unsurprising that the “healthcare” provider is choosing to make a political statement yet again. You may have heard the oft-repeated statistic that only about 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services go toward abortions. The reality is that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country, and abortion is essential to their business. This explains why they were so quick to opt out of receiving federal funds that help provide real women’s healthcare. Without the ability to perform (and spend millions lobbying for) abortions, Planned Parenthood loses its identity.

Fortunately, the courts have so far upheld the Protect Life Rule, meaning that thousands of healthcare centers that protect, promote, and cherish life will benefit from increased federal funding as they continue providing real care to women across the country. On the flip side, however, our state government here in Massachusetts will likely dole out millions of more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood to counteract the federal withdrawal of funds. Nevertheless, at a national level, this is still a step in the right direction and a major win for life. 

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