Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule that would restrict federal funds for any Title X-funded clinic that performs abortions. Title X grants provide funding to community health centers and family planning clinics, such as Planned Parenthood health centers, to support health care service delivery for more than 4 million Americans, including low-income and uninsured individuals.
This new policy, often referred to as a “domestic gag rule,” would cut off Title X funds for health providers and facilities that give referrals for or provide abortions.
After numerous legal challenges by state and advocacy groups, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the rule to take effect in July 2019. On Aug. 9, HHS informed Title X family planning providers that they had until Aug. 19 to provide a plan to comply with the new rule or they would be forced out of the program.
On Aug. 19, Planned Parenthood (including their Arizona organization) announced that they would be pulling out of the program because of the new policy changes. It remains to be seen what the network will look like in the coming months. For sure, patients seeking family planing services will need to change their provider patterns.