The Trump Administration Is Giving Family Planning Funds to a Network of Anti-Abortion Clinics
When I walked into the Obria clinic in Whittier, California, one evening in July, a woman in a modest floral-print dress organizing bundles of diapers in a back room greeted me hopefully. She thought I’d come for a class. Instead, I asked if I had come to the right place for birth control. Furrowing her brow, she walked around a couch and through a cozy waiting room full of baby toys to the front desk. “What sort of services were you looking for?” she inquired. I asked if they dispensed the morning-after pill, the emergency contraception often called “Plan B.” She told me curtly, “We don’t provide that or refer for any birth control here.”
I wasn’t surprised. For most of its existence, this clinic has been known as the Whittier Pregnancy Care Clinic, a religious ministry that offers free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds in the hopes of dissuading women facing an unplanned pregnancy from having an abortion. The clinic provides lots of things: free diapers and baby supplies, and post-abortion Bible-based counseling. What the clinic has never provided is birth control.
Bravo had privately reassured donors in January 2019 that Obria would never dispense contraception or refer for it. “Obria’s clinic model is committed to never provide hormonal contraception nor abortions! Obria promotes abstinence-based sexual risk avoidance education—the most effective public health model for promoting healthy behaviors,” Bravo wrote in an email obtained by the Campaign for Accountability, a […] watchdog group that has sued HHS to get public records about the Obria grant.
In March, HHS awarded $1.7 million for Obria’s California proposal, with the potential for a total of more than $5 million over the next three years. “Title X was created to help low-income women control their reproductive futures by providing them access to birth control,” said Alice Huling, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability. “Yet HHS gave these funds to a group that is fundamentally opposed to birth control. It just doesn’t make sense.”