PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will no longer use federal dollars to fund family planning clinics, the agency announced on Tuesday. The decision comes in response to new Trump administration restrictions on the "Title X" grant funding that prevents healthcare providers from discussing abortions with patients.
Title X-funded clinics served more than 44,000 Oregonians in 2018, according to OHA. Those clinics typically provide a range of services; preventing, diagnosing, and treating sexually transmitted infections, detecting cancer, and helping patients plan for pregnancies — in addition to preventing unwanted ones.
We want every person in #Oregon to know that we will continue to offer comprehensive reproductive health care services in our health clinics, despite having no choice but to leave the #TitleX program. If you want more information, visit https://t.co/P39hcbko4x #reprohealth— OR Health Authority (@OHAOregon) August 27, 2019
"The new federal gag rule, which was not informed by evidence-based medical practice, bars health care providers from fully informing Oregon women about their most personal reproductive health choices and denies them access to a comprehensive range of health services," said Patrick Allen, director of OHA.
Planned Parenthood similarly announced its withdrawal from federal Title X funding earlier this month. Now the nonprofit, the state of Oregon, and 19 other states have sued the federal government over the Trump administration rules.
"The federal deadline leaves Oregon no choice but to end our nearly 50-year participation in Title X and relinquish our grant," said Allen. "We cannot violate our own state laws that guarantee Oregon women full access to reproductive health services and prohibit any restriction on benefits, services or information regarding a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy."
The new federal guidelines, in addition to barring healthcare providers from referring patients to an abortion provider, require greater "physical and financial separation" between federally-funded family planning clinics and abortion providers. For organizations that provide both services, such as Planned Parenthood, the greater separation needed to continue receiving Title X funding is practically impossible.
"Oregon stands in solidarity with other states in maintaining that the new Title X rule will reduce access to birth control, cancer screenings and reproductive choices. Oregon is fortunate to have funds available to continue offering comprehensive reproductive health care services," said Allen. "Every person in Oregon should know this federal action will not prevent health clinics and care providers from continuing to offer the full range of high-quality, personalized and trusted reproductive health services they have always delivered."