The Daily Illini

Proposed change may cut abortion services

Ryan Chow

Ryan Chow

By Heather Schlitz, Assistant News Editor

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may publicly post sweeping changes to Title X, a federal grant program that funds family planning and preventive health services primarily for low-income women. The changes would come in less than a month, and reproductive health care providers in Champaign are worried.

The changes, first publicly announced in June, would ban Title X grant recipients from referring patients to abortions and would prohibit Title X funds from going toward organizations that provide abortion services.

“We wouldn’t even be able to talk to a woman who requests information about abortive services,” said Candi Crause, director of Adult Services at the Champaign Urbana Public Health Department. “Now, what we do is if a woman finds out that she’s pregnant and she wants to consider what her options are for the pregnancy, we talk to her about the full array of services: from having the baby, to what a pregnancy would look like and all the way through adoption and abortion services.”

Under the proposed changes, Crause would only be able to offer the patient a list of services and would be unable to indicate which provided abortions and which did not. Crause said it could be especially difficult for low-income women to identify which providers offer abortion services during an emotionally difficult time in their lives.

The Champaign Planned Parenthood and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Clinic are the only two organizations in Champaign that receive Title X funds. Currently, Title X grants do not fund abortions, but under the proposed changes, organizations providing abortive services as a family-planning service would no longer be eligible for funds at all.

According to Crause, the Planned Parenthood Champaign Health Center on Stoughton Street is the only abortion provider in Champaign County.

If the proposed changes go into effect, Planned Parenthood would likely lose Title X funds.

“Planned parenthood isn’t going to change our practice of providing comprehensive medical care to people,” said Julie Lynn, manager of external services for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “We would no longer be eligible for Title X funding because we will continue to provide abortion services as part of comprehensive reproductive healthcare.”

However, Lynn said Planned Parenthood is hopeful the proposed changes won’t materialize, citing public outrage as reason for optimism.

Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations had urged supporters to file public comments opposing the rule changes before the comment deadline in July, and over 100,000 total comments were submitted. Elected officials, including state attorneys general and governors also spoke out against the proposed changes.

Planned Parenthood and other groups also mounted a lawsuit against HHS that failed when a judge sided with the Trump administration.

Currently, CUPHD receives less than 10 percent of its funding for reproductive health services from Title X grants, and 312 people received reproductive healthcare at CUPHD in 2017.

Talia Shaw, health educator for CUPHD, who works in local middle and high schools and often refers students to local clinics, said she’s worried about the effects the changes would have on her students.

“It’s very important to us that they have those options, and they know that if they’re making the responsible decision to focus on their healthcare or if they’re needing someone to speak with about any of these topics, there are low-cost, compassionate clinics here in the community they can access,” she said. “Title X clinics are very important, especially for people who are low-income or young people who don’t have an income at all to be able to access those without having to worry about biased opinions.”

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About the Contributors
Heather Schlitz, Assistant News Editor

I’m double majoring in political science and global studies at the University, and I became assistant news editor after working as a staff writer at The Daily Illini. I love Oxford commas, news writing, and watching “Parks and Recreation” reruns.

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Bercham Kamber, Managing Editor for Visuals

I’m Berch and I’m a senior in civil engineering. I started at the DI the first week of my freshman year as a designer, then spent last year as design editor. I now manage the photo, design and video departments as the DI’s managing editor for visuals. I love mixing the technical and creative sides of my brain whenever I can. I will talk to you about Beyoncé all day any day, and I am thoroughly a Ravenclaw.

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Adam Zhang, Photo Editor

I am a senior majoring in computer science and statistics. I began my time at The Daily Illini as a staff photographer as a way to relieve stress from my long nights in Siebel. Since then, I have held many roles within the photo department, eventually reaching photo editor. I also have a bad problem of impulsively buying camera equipment, so if you see me on eBay or Amazon in the office, please tell me to stop.

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Kenyon Edmond, Assistant Photo Editor

Hi, I am a sophomore advertising major. I’m from the Hyde Park area on the south side of Chicago. I started as a staff photographer during the first semester of my freshman year. I spend my free time hanging out with friends and playing “Rocket League” and “Super Smash Bros”. In addition to photography, I’m also interested in fountain pens, mechanical keyboards and computer hardware.

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