Earlier this month, prominent reproductive healthcare non-profit Planned Parenthood shocked allies and opponents alike when it announced that it would withdraw from a federal family planning program that provided $60 million to the organization each year after the a new Trump administration rule change prohibited referrals to abortion providers.
The “gag rule,” as it was dubbed by reproductive healthcare advocates, would prevent Planned Parenthood from carrying out the “intent” of Title X of supporting preventative healthcare for low-income people, said Planned Parenthood’s New York legal representative in a written statement.
Now, the New York State government is stepping up to the helm.
According to Maureen Kelly, vice president for programming and communications at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, the organization has “official assurances” from the New York State Department of Health that additional funding will be provided to the healthcare provider at least until the end of 2019.
For Ithaca’s many college students, those who use Planned Parenthood services shouldn’t expect any changes to their service, Kelly told The Sun in a phone interview.
“We still have access to that funding, just not Title X [funding],” said Kelly.
This kind of alternate route, Kelly noted, is special to New York. “In other states, other Planned Parenthood affiliates don’t have access to that funding and don’t have alternative resources,” said Kelly.
When asked about the future of Planned Parenthood funding beyond the calendar year, Kelly wasn’t sure.
“We don’t know what the state will do in 2020 because it depends on the budget — where they can find money,” Kelly said.
New York leaders from all three branches of government have already announced firm support for the non-profit, with Attorney General Tish James, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hocul, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and other elected officials speaking at a Planned Parenthood rally in Albany earlier this year.
“The tenacity and tireless work of Planned Parenthood members and partners have won reproductive justice victories here in New York State,” State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said at the March rally. “All of us who support a woman’s right to choose must stand together and fight against the continued attacks on health care funding and access, including Trump’s gag rule.”