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Planned Parenthood Warns Rise In Unintended Pregnancies And STDs

Video by Andi Dukleth

Planned Parenthood warned a rise in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases would result from their decision to withdraw from Title X, the federally funded family planning program. The organization decided to withdraw from the program because a new rule by the Trump administration that forbids referrals to doctors who can perform abortions.

RELATED: Planned Parenthood Withdraws From Title X Program Over Trump Abortion Rule

Cita Walsh, vice president of marketing and communications of Planned Parenthood for the Pacific Southwest, talked with KPBS Evening Edition anchor Ebone Monet about Planned Parenthood’s decision.

Q: Why did Planned Parenthood decide to withdraw from Title X?

A: The decision for Planned Parenthood to withdraw from Title X was based entirely on the gag rule that was associated with it. This is a medically unethical and dangerous gag rule. What it means is that Planned Parenthood can not discuss abortion referrals with patients, and this is something that the American Medical Association, Planned Parenthood, and many others are suing the Trump-Pence administration over, because you cannot interfere with providing a patient with full information about their health care.

Q: Why does Planned Parenthood need to refer patients to abortion services or inform them about abortion services? Why is that something that's needed?

A: Abortion is a small but important part of what Planned Parenthood does. The access to abortion has been around, it's been safe and legal since it became the law of the land with Roe v. Wade over 46 years ago. We believe that we're doing a really good job at reducing the number of unintended pregnancies with the birth control and sexual education programs we have. But it still occurs. One in four women will become pregnant and request an abortion in her lifetime. So we think it's an important service, and it's part of our core mission and values to provide women with all of the health care, sexual reproductive health care, that they need throughout their reproductive life cycle.

Q:Who do you think will be hit the hardest by this?

A: The tragic thing about this is that low income people will be affected the most. People who are in rural and undeserved areas will be affected the most. And that's why, throughout the country, Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association and others are saying this is an unethical gag rule. and what we want is for Congress to act and for the courts to reverse this ruling so that we can welcome back Title X grant funding to the Planned Parenthood family.

Q: If this withdrawal continues and draws out in court, what might happen?

A: Planned Parenthood has been around for a 102 years and we have weathered many situations, political and otherwise, and we always come through. We come through because of the donors that help us. We come through because of the legislators that help us, and the support that we have in the community. America appreciates Planned Parenthood and the services we provide. I think that we will always find a way to keep our doors open. That's what Planned Parenthood does. And while some people may have a situation where they have to pay a smaller amount of money to come through or they have to wait longer, it's going to vary state by state, but we will see how it goes through, and progresses, and how the litigation progresses through the courts. And we are hopeful that we will prevail and that we will be able to rejoin the Title X program. It's a good and important program.

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