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This week, the Trump administration moved to block organizations like Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning funds, and that announcement grew a lot of - drew a lot of headlines. What has gotten less attention is that the proposed changes could pave the way for a host of previously ineligible organizations, some of whom oppose contraception, to get those dollars. Here's more from NPR's Sarah McCammon.
SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: In front of a room full of abortion rights opponents this week, activist Marjorie Dannenfelser praised President Trump and imagined a world where social conservatives had not rallied behind him at the polls.
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MARJORIE DANNENFELSER: We would be grieving the loss of support for women and children as pregnancy centers get forced to close down their businesses, not looking for ways in the federal government to support they're beautiful work.
MCCAMMON: Dannenfelser leads the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. Like her, many abortion opponents want to cut federal funds to groups like Planned Parenthood and redirect them to other organizations, including crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel women against abortion. The Trump proposal would block groups that perform or refer for abortions from receiving funds through the Title X family planning program. It also makes clear that recipients would not have to offer all effective contraceptive options.
MARIO DICKERSON: We've been asking that these requirements, these roadblocks and obstacles, be removed.
MCCAMMON: Mario Dickerson is executive director of the Catholic Medical Association, which is among several organizations that do not provide standard contraceptive services who've told NPR they plan to apply for Title X funds for the first time.
DICKERSON: And so we're excited to be able to participate in these funds now.
MCCAMMON: Dickerson says his group, which opposes abortion and contraception, will seek several million dollars. He's partnering with the Couple to Couple League, a Catholic organization that promotes natural family planning for married couples. Natural family planning relies on understanding when a woman is likely to conceive and, depending on what you want, either having sex or avoiding it at that time. The group's Chris Reynolds says the proposed changes to Title X are welcome.
CHRIS REYNOLDS: It's opened us up to possibly, you know, being able to reach more women.
MCCAMMON: When used perfectly, natural family planning can be almost as effective as contraceptives. But in reality, studies suggest such methods may fail to prevent pregnancy as much as a quarter of the time. Reynolds says his group works with Catholics and non-Catholics, including women who want to avoid hormonal contraception.
REYNOLDS: We believe it's a woman's right to learn about their bodies and how it works.
MCCAMMON: Opponents of the Trump administration proposal say it would make it harder for low-income people to get information about birth control and abortion. Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights says there are only so many family planning dollars to go around.
NANCY NORTHUP: They should go to programs that have a full range of planning, that are scientifically based and that women are making the decisions based on their full range of options.
MCCAMMON: Officials at Planned Parenthood note that the proposed changes to Title X aren't final, and they'll apply for the money anyway. Sarah McCammon, NPR News, the White House.
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