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Illinois To Provide More Money For Family Planning Clinics, In Light Of Trump Rule

Charlotte Cooper
Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Illinois will not implement a Trump administration rule to withhold federal money from healthcare providers that perform and refer women for abortions.

Governor JB Pritzker announced Thursday that the public health department will provide those funds while the rule remains in effect.

This week, the Trump administration announced it has started enforcing what critics call the “gag rule” —because it prohibits providers that receive Title X funding from counseling patients about abortion.

The funding provides birth control, cancer screenings and other health services to roughly 4 million low-income patients.

In Illinois, the move to forgo Title X funding while the “gag rule” remains in effect will cost the state more than $2 million this fiscal year. State officials say the money will ensure 28 providers that previously relied on federal funding will see no disruption in the women’s health services they provide.

Illinois is part of a multi-state lawsuit to permanently overturn the rule.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of Illinois will continue to serve low-income patients, regardless of its decision to reject federal dollars.

Julie Lynn, manager of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said more than 100,000 Illinoisans rely on the grant money for healthcare.

“None of that fund has ever gone to abortion services,” she said. “But if a Title X healthcare provider refers, provides or even references abortion services, then they wouldn’t be able to be part of the Title X program.”

Planned Parenthood of Illinois announced Tuesday that it won’t take any federal dollars until the rule is reversed, calling it a violation of medical ethics.

Lynn said, in the meantime, the organization will run on emergency funds.

“Patients [will] still be able to receive family planning services on a sliding fee scale — just as they were when Planned Parenthood was accepting Title X funds,” she said. “But that is not a long term plan. This is to make sure that people in the immediate future are able to get the care they need. We are hopeful that the gag rule will once again be blocked.”

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Public Health says the $2.4 million does not include money for Planned Parenthood Illinois, which rejected its federal funds.

Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.
Christine Herman