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Planned Parenthood launches $1 million ad blitz in last ditch effort to overturn Title X "gag order" on abortion

With time running out, Planned Parenthood plans to debut a $1 million advertising blitz on Sunday in hopes of regaining about $60 million in federal funding that the organization says it was forced to lose after the Trump administration's so-called "gag order" on abortion referrals. The ads will run in Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina.

The television, radio, digital and mail ads focus on three U.S. Senators — Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — asking constituents to call their offices and ask them to adopt an appropriations bill that would reverse the changes made to Title X that Planned Parenthood says has forced them to exit the program. That language has already been adopted in the House of Representatives version of the Labor, Health and Human Services Bill, but not yet in the Senate's.

"Republican Senators are attacking access to affordable birth control and other vital reproductive health services by standing with the Trump Administration's dangerous gag rule," Sam Lau, director of federal advocacy media at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement to CBS News on Thursday. "Congress has the power to take action, and the American people want them to stop putting politics over their health and protect access to affordable health care."

Planned Parenthood has until December 20 to include language in the Senate appropriations bill to protect its place in Title X and reverse some of the changes made to the program aimed at subsidizing birth control for low-income women. In February, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a 312-page filing announcing sweeping changes to Title X eligibility, writing that "none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning."

Planned Parenthood and other recipients of Title X funds were also required to physically separate their facilities that provide abortion from the rest of their operations under the changes. Since Title X was enacted in 1970, its funds have always been prohibited from paying for abortion services. 

Planned Parenthood gives up Title X funding over "gag order" 06:45

In August, Planned Parenthood said it was forced to exiting the program and since then has been focusing its efforts on overturning the rule changes through a Congressional spending bill.

In a tweet Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer said it was "past time for Congress to overturn" the so-called "gag rule."

"President Trump's Title X rule is a gag on health care providers," Schumer said. "It hurts their ability to work with women to determine the best health care decisions. It puts barriers in the way of American women accessing care they need."

McSally questioned Planned Parenthood's motives, and her campaign manager, Dylan Lefler, said in a statement to Fox News that the organization "is only focused on protecting their business model." 

"We expect every hysterical liberal special interest group in the country to invade Arizona with false, negative ads for the next year since they know it is a pivotal race to keep the Senate majority," Lefler said.

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