A law signed last week by President Donald Trump allows states the ability to block federal funding for organizations that provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood.
However, thanks to a state law that prohibits state funding of abortion providers, public health leaders say so-called Title X funding in Indiana is largely safe from any state legislative attacks.
The decision reverses a late-stage Obama-era rule stating state governments can’t deny federal dollars to providers for political reasons.
The Title X program was initiated more than 40 years ago as a way to provide low-income people access to fertility and cancer screenings, family planning and contraception services.
Title X grants can be distributed to nonprofits or state governments. But because Indiana as a state already doesn’t distribute money to such providers, the cash bypasses the state and is doled out by nonprofits—historically, the Indiana Family Health Council, or IFHC.
IFHC President Kristin Adams says that means the states can make money about their federal funding to state governments.
“What [the new rule] says is state governments who get that money have the right to restrict the funding to Planned Parenthood-type entities,” she explains. “What it doesn’t say is as long as that money isn’t sitting in a state government, the state government can’t tell me how to spend my federal funds.”
Adams says Title X funds 11 entities and 32 clinics throughout the state—and as far as she can see, the new rule won’t affect their process.
“If any nonprofit gets federal funds we can do with it as we so desire as long as the funds are being utilized for what they’re intended for."
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Vice President Patti Stauffer says Title X funds—about $1.2 million in 2016—account for a little less than 8 percent her organization’s budget.
“So clearly, our revenue is much more highly tied to commercial reimbursement Medicaid reimbursement and then patient self-pay,” she says.
Stauffer estimates approximately one-third of the state’s Title X recipients receive care through Planned Parenthood.
Adams says while Title X grants do fund agencies which offer abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, money is barred from going to the specific clinics that perform abortions.