Idaho providers react to Planned Parenthood’s Title X withdrawal

Stanton Healthcare hopes to benefit.
Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 00:45:11-04

BOISE, Idaho — This week, Planned Parenthood said that it will refuse so-called Title X funds rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule prohibiting referrals to doctors who can give abortions. Now, an opposing agency in Idaho is hoping to nab some of those dollars.

Planned Parenthood gets about $60 million per year from the Federal Family Planning Program known as Title X which provides birth control, pregnancy tests, and other health services to women with limited means.

Starting next year, that's changing-- sending Idaho providers on both sides of the abortion argument scrambling.

This week representatives of Planned Parenthood accused Trump's administration of forcing them out of a program they've received funding from consistently since 1970. I talked to the Planned Parenthood Idaho state director, Mistie Tolman.

"It's gagging physicians and making it so they are not able to tell them everything that is available to them," said Tolman.

The rule disallows Title X recipients of letting physicians refer women to an abortion provider or suggest where to get one.

"We refuse to comply with the unconscionable rule that this administration is trying to make folks comply with," said Tolman.

Meanwhile across the street, the pro-life Stanton Healthcare, which provides what they describe as "life-affirming unexpected pregnancy care"-- is celebrating.

"It's a really exciting possibility that we could receive some of that funding, and it would be a massive push for us," said Brandi Swindell, CEO and founder of Stanton Healthcare.

Withdrawing from Title X does not mean Planned Parenthood will lose all of its federal funding, they also receive money from Medicaid, according to the New York Times. But it does mean providers like Stanton may be eligible for Title X funding.

"Any amount would be significant for us, and so that's one of the things we're looking at with our leadership, and with HHS officials."

Tolman said, as of now, she doesn't anticipate any Planned Parenthood clinics to close in Idaho.

"We have a lawsuit that's currently happening, and we have hope that we're gonna be able to keep providing the level of care that we always have been able to and that we're there for our patients, no matter what," said Tolman.

In some rural areas, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of services like STI testing, birth control, and pregnancy testing.