Under the tide of the continuous salacious headlines generated by President Donald Trump’s behavior, his administration continues to reshape American policy in disturbing ways. House Democrats are again taking action — three leaders have revealed an investigation into the Department of Health and Human Services’s decision to fund a chain of known anti-abortion “healthcare” clinics while denying funding to a number of Planned Parenthood affiliates. Democrats allege that the funding re-allocation is fundamentally at odds with the base Title X program, since the anti-abortion Obria Group’s healthcare provisions are dismal to say the least.
As Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), and Diana DeGette (Co.) put it:
‘In eliminating longstanding comprehensive sexual and reproductive health centers from the Title X network and directing funding to grantees that will not guarantee access to contraception or HIV or other STI prevention services, the funding decision contradicts the program’s longstanding purpose of “providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventative health services.”‘
To that end, Democrats want HHS to provide them with all documents and communications involving the department regarding Obria and its attempts at funding over the past two years.
They had previously been denied federal health funding under Title X, but lo and behold, with the ascent of a figure more inclined towards their aims they’re in and the longstanding, widely serving Planned Parenthood is out, again made a GOP boogeyman for their fears of providing for the poor. The anti-abortion, former Life Network head Dr. Diane Foley now administers Title X funding.
The Obria Group apparently even submitted an “error-riddled” application for funding this time around, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped the Trump administration. Discussing a Texas subsidiary set to be led by the Obria Group, the watchdog Campaign for Accountability asserted just last month that their funding application “drastically overstates the number of patients served by the Heidi Group, identifies a long-departed employee as the Heidi Group’s top quality assurance officer, and fails to disclose the Heidi Group’s terminated state contracts.” That organization has actually sued the Trump administration, seeking some of the same communications House Democrats are now after.
Besides those issues, the Obria Group is so extreme that they don’t support any form of birth control or overall family planning outside of the “natural” variety, meaning abstinence. Their latest application asserted that “all” forms of contraception would be offered at least through Texas affiliates, but the Houston Chronicle noted that it wasn’t clear what form that offering would actually take. It could be through referrals, which some assert “reduce the likelihood that a woman will actually receive and use her preferred form of birth control.” If those kinds of programs crowd up the Title X program, it will mean less comprehensive health care for the low income women who rely on the situation, and more of them in the tough situations the GOP makes a big show about being out to avoid.
The group ended up apparently getting money only to expand services in California, as shared in The New York Times. Catholic Church-affiliated organizations have contributed large amounts of money towards its persistence.
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