By Sam Dorman
Published October 01, 2019
The Health and Human Services Department announced Monday where millions of dollars in family planning grants would go after Planned Parenthood and others severed them due to a rule blocking funding for facilities where abortion is a "method of family planning."
Totaling $33.6 million, the money went towards health departments and clinics across a long list of states as part of HHS's effort to close the gaps in patient resources after organizations lost their funding. In a press release, the department said the awarded grants prioritized "unserved and underserved jurisdictions and low-income individuals."
"In order to minimize the service gaps created by those grantees, HHS awarded supplemental grants to qualified organizations that comply with the law," HHS Director of External Affairs Mia Heck said in a statement to Fox News.
"Those supplemental grants allow them to expand family-planning services and increase protections for women and children at risk of (or victims of) child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate-partner violence, and sex trafficking."
Planned Parenthood affiliates represented at least eight of the providers whose funding was transferred by HHS. The others included government health departments in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Vermont, and Oregon. Those organizations presumably refused to budge on abortion, as the rule blocked funding for facilities that referred people for abortion. It also required a "physical and financial separation of Title X and non-Title X activities."
The announcement came as Planned Parenthood fought the Trump administration over the issue. "Those grantees have since made clear that they would not fulfill their commitments to serve their patients through the Title X program," Heck told Fox News. "Instead, they have chosen to prioritize referrals for abortion over providing services for clients who need federally funded, family-planning services."
That statement echoed those of pro-life advocates who argued that Planned Parenthood and others preferred to maintain abortion services instead of others. States like Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, and Delaware were among those which received the additional Title X money.
Planned Parenthood and others have argued that the administration's rule was an attack on women's health care and would risk health care access for millions of people.
"This puts health care at risk for four million patients and keeps patients from getting information about all of their health care options — including 1.6 million Planned Parenthood patients," the group said on its website.
While it's unclear what would happen to Planned Parenthood's patients, HHS maintained that the new grants would help "minimize the service gaps" created by the previous grantees.
"The supplemental awards will come close to—if not exceed—prior Title X patient coverage," Heck said. "HHS will continue to seek qualified entities to minimize any interruption of Title X services caused by the grantees that chose not to serve their patients as promised when they accepted Title X funds."