Under Trump, New Federally Funded Family Planning Clinics To Focus On Abstinence

Obria Group clinics promote abstinence and the "rhythm method" for family planning, opposing abortion and birth control.

A new set of women’s health centers in California were recently granted acceptance into the Title X program, the federal government’s family planning program, but they are essentially faith-based crisis pregnancy centers in disguise.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the California-based Obria Group are “designed to persuade women to continue their pregnancies” and move younger clients “away from sexual risks as their only option in life, to an option of self-control.”

Kathleen Eaton Bravo, Obria Group’s chief executive, has described the company as a “pro-life” alternative to Planned Parenthood, which is the largest recipient of Title X funding and serves about 4 million women and girls.

Bravo told the Post that many women “want the opportunity to visit a professional, comprehensive health care facility — not an abortion clinic — for their health care needs.”

Along with its anti-abortion stance, the health care clinics also downplay hormonal birth control options, such as the pill, focusing largely on their side effects. As a favorable alternative, Obria health care providers promote the "rhythm method," which has a woman track her monthly cycle to avoid pregnancy. It also has about a 24 percent failure rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Allowing Obria to participate in the federal program could open the door for other such clinics to receive federal funding, Medicaid reimbursement and standing with private insurance plans, according to political analysts — which would be a boon for the pro-life movement.

This is just the latest move in the Trump administration’s attempt to fashion women’s health care to fit a conservative religious framework, following on the heels of a February rule change targeting Planned Parenthood.

Those clinics, which serve about 41 percent of Title X clients across the U.S., took a hit when the Trump administration “barred groups that provide abortions or abortion referrals from federal funding,” the Post noted.

Unlike Planned Parenthood, Obria falls in line with conservative evangelicals’ ideas about sexuality, emphasizing the importance of a “couple” rather than the needs of an individual woman, as well as “the benefits of commitment and marriage” throughout its Title X application.

Read the full report.

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