There’s nothing complicated about the four-decade-old law of the land about who pays for abortions: never the federal government — except when rape, incest or endangerment to a woman’s life are in play.
Not Medicaid. Not Obamacare. And not Title X, a family planning grant that perfectly well funds birth control and sexually transmitted disease treatment for some 4 million patients a year at 90 organizations that include — oh, what’s this? — Planned Parenthood.
That’s the women’s health care service that happens to be the nation’s largest provider of abortions and target of a Washington mob long determined to defund the group entirely, with President Trump now vaulted to the front of the pack.
His Department of Health and Human Services sets out not only to deny Title X family planning funds for abortion — remember, that’s already the law — but to withhold federal money from any part of any organization that performs abortions, or even hands the web address of a provider to a woman considering one.
The proposed rule — arguably within Trump’s power to impose under a 1991 Supreme Court decision that ratified a similar but never-implemented Reagan-era regulation — would force Planned Parenthood to either forgo tens of millions of dollars it relies on or split into two physically and legally separate operations.
In the world Trump wants, a family planning group could only send a patient to an abortion group if a woman had already decided on having an abortion (proven how?), and then only as part of a list that also includes health care providers that don’t provide abortions.
But don’t dilly-dally, ladies, because Trump also affirmed Tuesday that he wants to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, as the House has already voted to do.
None of the above applies to Playboy Playmates impregnated in Trump’s orbit; Michael Cohen will be right with you to make sure your abortion is fully paid for and then some.
But for women in the many parts of the country where Planned Parenthood is the only game in town for both contraception and abortion, defunding the group is as good as denying them care.
And at every clinic funded by Title X, doctors will be forbidden from discussing pregnancy termination with patients, even in the event that it’s medically advisable (that happens plenty), even though Roe v. Wade, dating all the way back to 1973, guarantees a right to abortion without undue burden on women.