WASHINGTON — The call to "de-fund Planned Parenthood" has long been a rallying cry on the right.
On Monday, the family planning and abortion services provider decided to give up millions of dollars in federal funding itself over a new Trump Administration ban on abortion referrals.
There was tight security outside the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington clinic in Northeast D.C. Inside, the CEO is defying the new Trump Administration rule. "Planned Parenthood is never going to allow the Trump Pence Administration to bully us into withholding critical health information from our patients," said Laura Meyers, the president and CEO.
The new rule bans abortion referrals by clinics that take federal money under the half-century old Title X program, which funds all kinds of family planning services.
The change could hit more than a million low-income women trying to get everything from annual wellness screening to birth control and tests for sexually-transmitted infections. "We provide breast exams, we provide pap smears, life-saving cancer detection," said Meyers.
Abortion rights opponents have long criticized Planned Parenthood...
The Trump Administration accused it of "abandoning (its) obligations to serve (its) patients" and "blaming the government for (its) own actions."
"We will never back down from providing safe and legal abortions," responded Meyers.
The Title X program now runs to almost $300-million dollars.
Planned Parenthood does not use Title X money in DC. Maryland passed a law years ago promising to make up for lost federal family planning money. It's less clear what will happen in Virginia.
Planned Parenthood is suing the Trump Administration to try and force it to give up the new rule.