Although congressional leaders were able to avoid a government shutdown on Sunday by compromising on various issues (including blocking funding for the border wall with Mexico or dismantling Dodd-Frank), the president insists that the issue regarding funding for Planned Parenthood is only temporarily settled. In an interview with Fox News' Eric Bolling on Tuesday, Trump said defunding Planned Parenthood at the "appropriate time" remains on the agenda for his administration.
“I said I wouldn't fund Planned Parenthood, and at the appropriate time, things will happen," Trump told Bolling. His comments come as a response to conservative concerns that the nearly $1 trillion agreement continues to provide money for non-abortion-related services offered by the organization until September.
Although Trump didn't go into any of the details of how and when he might act on his longtime campaign promise of defunding the organization, his most recent appointments of prominent anti-choice figures — like former president and CEO of American's United For Life Charmaine Yoest and National Right to Life Committee alum Teresa Manning — to posts in the Department of Health and Human Services, and his notoriously anti-abortion Cabinet, are a solid indication of the intentions of his administration in the long term.
Much has already been written about the potentially devastating effects defunding Planned Parenthood might have on a national scale — particularly on low-income men and women and women of color. As Planned Parenthood noted in a blog in February, the loss of their centers and services could leave 2.5 million patients without access to care in counties with few affordable alternatives.
In the same blog, they also add that the loss of their centers would overburden non-PP reproductive healthcare providers (particularly in counties that once relied on them) with the impossible task of providing "birth control for 2 million people, as well as over 4 million STD tests and treatments, over 360,000 breast exams [and] over 270,000 Pap tests" per year.
Despite these numbers, Trump remains on track in pursuing his promises (outlined in his letter to anti-abortion leaders while campaigning in September) to nominate anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court, to pass late-term abortion restrictions, to ensure the Hyde Amendment (a rider that blocks medicaid funding for abortions) becomes permanent, and, of course, to defund Planned Parenthood.
Ultimately, abortion and reproductive rights advocates will have to brace themselves for Trump's supposedly "appropriate time," which could be anytime after the end of September.