If you or someone you know uses Planned Parenthood in Mankato for birth control, cancer screening, testing or disease treatment, all will soon be paying more for those services.
That’s due to federal orders that prohibit local clinics that get Title X funds from referring people to a doctor for an abortion. Planned Parenthood of Minnesota will feel the cuts worse than most as the nonprofit serves 90 percent of Title X patients in the state.
At Mankato’s Planned Parenthood clinic, which doesn’t perform abortions, about 43 percent of patients are covered under Title X.
Clinics had to agree to the new rules set by the Trump administration or lose their Title X funding. Nationwide that could be a loss of up to $260 million and Minnesota clinics could lose $2.7 million.
Planned Parenthood officials refused to comply with what they call a “gag order” because it would be unethical to not tell patients about all their options for treatment and care.
Abortion opponents applauded the Trump administration rule arguing taxpayer funds should not be used directly or indirectly for abortion services. It has been against federal law for years to use the funds to directly fund abortions, but opponents have often argued the money goes into the Planned Parenthood account and thereby indirectly supports abortions.
We believe that’s always been a bit of an intellectual stretch. It would be difficult to fund a democracy if everyone were able to withhold their taxes for parts of programs with which they disagreed. Unfortunately, the argument plays well politically. And unfortunately, the taxpayers won’t make up the difference in this case, but the cost burden will now fall on patients, many of whom go to Planned Parenthood because its costs are affordable.
Already, Planned Parenthood officials say patients have walked out of appointments or canceled knowing they will not be able to pay for those services.
That’s likely to create more health problems that will be even more costly. Imagine a woman foregoing a cancer screening and ending up with years of costly treatment. And the policy may indeed cause more unwanted pregnancies, something abortion opponents say they also oppose.
We urge the Minnesota Legislature to consider making up for the loss of federal funds. In the long run, it will support women’s health and leave the choice to have children between a woman and her doctor and not the federal government.