A Trump administration rule change on abortion referrals is going to cost Planned Parenthood of Montana the federal funds it receives that go toward a wide variety of reproductive health care services for low-income recipients.

The Planned Parenthood national organization is withdrawing from the federal Title X program that provides the organization with some $260 million in grants nationwide for reproductive health care. Under new Trump administration rules, clinics cannot receive Title X funding if they refer people for abortions or are located in the same building where abortions are performed. The decision to withdraw rather than comply with the new rules means the loss of a major source of funding for the largest reproductive health care provider in the state.

In this era of tribal politics, you’re either for us or against – nothing in between. And this tribal polarity has spawned more misinformation and disinformation.

The Trump administration adopted the new rules – which are being challenged in court – specifically to target Planned Parenthood, which refers patients to abortion services. And the organization is unapologetic about that. Abortion is legal and is just one of many services the organization refers patients for.

Planned Parenthood’s five Montana clinics provide clients with physical exams, testing for cancer, birth control information and supplies, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and menopausal care. And it provides these services on a sliding-fee scale based on clients’ ability to pay.

If the courts uphold the new rules, the organization’s Montana clinics’ ability to provide these services at reduced costs will be substantially affected, and Planned Parenthood spokespersons say some Montanans will likely go without care.

In Bozeman, Bridgercare, an independent reproductive health clinic, will be complying with the new rules and retain its federal funding. But that clinic is expecting increased demands on its services due to Planned Parenthood’s funding cutbacks.

Reproductive health is one of those things that can be uncomfortable to talk about. But that doesn’t make it any less important. Those who are able may want to consider a donation to Planned Parenthood of Montana (www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-montana). People going without medical care because of an inability to pay should not be acceptable.

Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Nick Ehli, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Don Beeman, community member
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Sarabeth Rees, community member
  • David Swingle, community member

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