This Week in Choice: Trump gives states the OK to withhold funds from Planned Parenthood


In top-line reproductive rights news this week, President Donald Trump signed off on legislation that permits states to deny abortion providers Title X funds.

There's a strange twist to all of this: Title X money doesn't fund abortion. Instead, the federal spending goes toward women's health services like breast and cervical cancer screenings, STI tests and birth control, since the Hyde Amendment already prevents any federal dollars from funding abortion. 

As Mic has previously reported, the measure will hurt low-income women the most, considering some 90% of patients accessing Planned Parenthood's Title X services have incomes that fall below 200% of the federal poverty standard.

Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's executive vice president, has condemned the legislation in the strongest terms.

"Planned Parenthood strongly opposes President Trump's willingness to undermine millions of women's access to birth control through the Title X family planning program," she wrote in a press release Thursday. "Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being."

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What else you may have missed this week: 

• On the brighter side of things, roughly 48 hours after it vowed to reimburse Planned Parenthood of any funds denied to it by the federal government, Maryland moved to make birth control pills available over the counter, without a prescription. If Gov. Larry Hogan signs the bill into law, women could get their birth control directly from the pharmacy starting in September 2018.

• Conservative mouthpiece Tomi Lahren clarified her stance on abortion in an interview on ABC News Wednesday night, telling host Byron Pitts she identifies as both pro-choice and anti-abortion. Lahren says her pro-abortion rights views have to do with her position on limited government, meaning she believes the government shouldn't have its paws on women's bodies either. These opinions, of course, got her ousted from TheBlaze in March. 

Jezebel published an interview Tuesday with Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider who believes there's a moral argument to be made for abortion rights. As a Christian, Parker said he sees abortion access as having to do with "compassion and the moral obligation to respond to the need of your fellow human being."

• As far as fictional characters' reproductive rights go, Scandal's protagonist Olivia Pope almost lost hers when ABC executives asked creator Shonda Rhimes to cut Olivia's season five abortion scene from the show. Rhimes revealed the dispute in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter in honor of the show's 100th episode. Rhimes wasn't having it. "I said, 'Go ahead, alter the scene,'" she recalled. "'We'll just have a lot of articles about how you altered the scene.'"