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Planned Parenthood and a number of other health providers across the U.S. have formally withdrawn from Title X — the nation's family planning program for low-income people — after the Trump administration imposed new restrictions.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new rules prohibiting Title X funding recipients from providing or referring patients for abortion, except in certain cases.
Some states, including Hawaii, Illinois and Washington state, are joining Planned Parenthood in saying they will no longer accept Title X funding, which has been used to provide patients with birth control and reproductive health screenings.
But several states will be left without any private clinics funded by the program, including New Hampshire.
Lovering Health Center, a reproductive health clinic in Greenland, New Hampshire, is withdrawing from Title X. Without the funding, Lovering Health Center’s Executive Director Lisa Leach says the clinic will have to reevaluate three different areas of the clinic’s day-to-day care.
First is eliminating the clinic's sliding fee scale, which “is a huge draw for our independent center,” Leach says. The Lovering Health Center’s patients are mostly “uninsured, underinsured, [or] at the poverty level.”
The second cut would be removing the walk-in hours for STI and HIV testing. The program will continue, she says, but they’ll have to do away with the walk-in option.
Lastly, Leach says they are looking at how the clinic will be able to continue providing low-cost contraception.
“We're really looking at how we're going to be able to continue to keep those prices low and affordable for the large number of folks that rely on us for that,” she says, “because if we can't provide those low-cost contraception programs to people that need them, it's only going to mean more unintended pregnancies.”
On the decision to withdraw from Title X funds
“There was a lot of discussion surrounding what we were going to do, but it was pretty clear that our mission originally for 40 years has been as an abortion care provider. So we pretty quickly made the decision to withdraw.”
On those most affected by the decision to reject Title X federal funding
“We see all types of clients here at the Lovering Health Center. … They're in low-income families that rely on us. It's also a large amount of clients that don't feel comfortable going to ‘a traditional health care provider.’ They come to an independent health care center because of the, I mean, it's truly a judgment free health center. So we're very worried that these patients, they just will let this health care drop. They won't pursue other options because there aren't any other options for them.
“Low-cost care is important. We also have a very large population of college kids that come here for reproductive and sexual health, not only their health care but education and preventative care and counseling and testing and treatment. Some people come here every three months.”
On finding other forms of funding
“We're looking at foundation grant funding [and] private donations. We have our annual event coming up in October. It's usually a celebration of the health center, and this year [will] be a little bit different flair. It's going to be more of a call to action that right now, we really need the community's support.”
This segment aired on August 20, 2019.
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