The anti-abortion group Obria received Title X funding from the government despite promising "to never provide hormonal contraception nor abortion," in the words of its founder and CEO Kathleen Bravo, according to a new report by the Campaign for Accountability.
The group recently got a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Title X funds, which are meant to provide family-planning services. According to the Campaign for Accountability report, in a funding application for Texas, Obria said that its clinics would provide a "broad range of family-planning methods, including several contraception options," despite telling its supporters it wouldn't do so. While that grant was rejected, Obria got Title X funding for California.
This is part of a pattern, says Alice Huling, counsel at Campaign for Accountability.
"We've seen multiple attempts by HHS to kind of mutate what Title X is supposed to be doing and the services they're supposed to be providing," Huling told Refinery29. "But Congress didn't allocate this funding to Title X for that — so they shouldn't be receiving that funding. Title X has been critical for people to access care and family-planning, and if that money is going to organizations that aren't providing that care, it's problematic that those organizations are being funded."
Bravo explicitly told Obria's supporters the group would not provide contraception. It currently only offers training on the rhythm method. "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," she wrote in an email in January, according to the Campaign for Accountability report.
Campaign for Accountability has launched an investigation into the Trump administration's relationship with Obria. The Trump administration is trying to dismantle Title X, a program that serves about 4 million people a year and provides free and affordable reproductive healthcare to those who need it most, by prohibiting taxpayer-funded family-planning clinics from discussing abortion with patients or referring them to abortion providers. A federal judge recently blocked this so-called Title X "gag rule," which was set to take effect on May 3.
According to 2017 analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, contraceptives provided at Title X clinics have contributed to a significant decline in unintended pregnancy rates.
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