The president released his 2018 budget proposal for Congress on Tuesday that included an unprecedented change — withholding all federal funds from Planned Parenthood. Restrictions already prohibit government money from paying for abortions, but this goes much further, preventing any clinic that provides abortions from receiving federal cash to pay for low-income Americans' birth control, STD testing, cancer screenings, and other vital health services.
On Monday, Mother Jones reported that a leaked executive summary of President Trump's budget said "certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood" wouldn't receive federal money.
But in the budget proposal released the following day, the restriction was sneakily added to the appendix under a section clarifying that none of the funds described in the budget will go to a "prohibited entity." The document then defines a prohibited entity as any organization that "performs, or provides any funds to any other entity that performs, abortions" except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother's life.
It doesn't specifically name Planned Parenthood as previously expected, but the language has the same effect — defunding any and all health organizations that perform abortions.
The money the Trump administration wants to keep from abortion providers comes in the form of Medicaid reimbursements and federal funding. Based on Planned Parenthood's 2014-2015 annual report, 43% of its overall funding came from government grants and reimbursements that year, so it could lose almost half of its revenue.
Even if Planned Parenthood clinics were able to stay open, Medicaid patients would have to find other health care providers. Planned Parenthood's website says at least 60% of its patients nationwide are on Medicaid or qualify for federal Title X family planning funds. With 2.5 million people visiting Planned Parenthood clinics each year, that means 1.5 million low-income patients wouldn't be able to access Planned Parenthood's services.
Back in March, President Trump said Planned Parenthood could keep its federal funding if it stopped offering abortions, and his budget follows through on his continued threat to defund the organization. The president signed an executive order in April allowing individual states to withhold Title X funds from clinics that perform abortions, and his budget plan expands that directive to the national level.
"This is the worst budget for women and women’s health in a generation," said Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens in a statement on Monday ahead of the release of the budget. "It singles out Planned Parenthood, guts programs designed to help women and their families put food on the table, get the medical care they need, and make ends meet."