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Colorado’s first abortion clinic gives up $500k in federal funding to continue providing services

The Trump administration’s new Title X regulations prevent federal funding from going to clinics that provide or refer women to abortion services

BOULDER, Colorado — Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center opened its doors a few months after the Roe v. Wade decision came down in 1973. Services have since expanded from abortion to providing a wide variety of family planning and gynecological services.

The federal funding it’s received through Title X has never been legally allowed to be spent on abortion services but it does help low-income and uninsured people get birth control, annual exams, tests and cancer screenings on a sliding scale.

In February, the Trump Administration finalized new Title X regulations, preventing funds from going to clinics that provide or refer women to abortion services. Those funds are now being directed toward clinics with religious affiliations.

“This is the Trump administration trying to push abortion providers out of the title ten program even though no title ten money goes toward abortion services,” said Lisa Radelet, communications director for the health center. “We decided that because abortion care and abortion referrals were such an essential part of our history and our mission, we would not give up providing abortion care or abortion referrals or withhold information from our patients for the sake of the money.”

Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center is giving up $500,000 a year in order to continue providing all of its services. It’s about 20% of its overall budget according to Radelet. But, she said the alternative would be too expensive. If the clinic wanted to keep the funding it would have to create a new organization with a new building and different staff, keeping abortion and other health services not just financially but physically separate.  

“We are really committed to continuing to provide sliding-scale services for low-income folks in our community. We hope to do that through state funding. Luckily, we live in Colorado which is a very supportive state,” said Radelet, who added that so far they have not had to cut back on any services.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment gave the clinic an additional $200,000 in light of the lost federal funding, but it’s not guaranteed in future years. Radelet said they’ll begin applying for additional grants and rely on donors.

RELATED: Supporters want late-term abortion ban on Colorado's 2020 ballot

After the regulations were finalized earlier this year, several federal judges blocked them. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, allowing the rules to take effect.

Lynn Grandon, program director of the Respect Life Office of Catholic Charities of Denver wasn’t available for an interview but provided a statement:

“We appreciate the judicial system’s concrete decision that abortion is not health care and that appropriate funding will be properly directed to health care facilities that treat women with dignity and respect.”

Planned Parenthood and several states including Colorado are suing the federal government over the regulations.

Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center also has a Longmont location and is not affiliated with the Boulder Abortion Clinic’s late-term abortion specialist Dr. Warren Hern.

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