Aunt Martha's clinics awarded additional federal family planning money

By Rebecca Anzel
Capitol News Illinois
Updated 10/16/2019 5:06 PM

Aunt Martha's Health & Wellness, the only Illinois organization participating in the federal family planning program, was awarded more than double its initial grant after 18 providers across the country declined their funding in response to a Trump administration rule change related to abortions.

Aunt Martha's operates clinics in Aurora, Carpentersville, Palatine and Woodstock, among other locations,


Raul Garza, Aunt Martha's president and CEO, said the provider's new grant amount is more than $1.3 million.

Aunt Martha's will use the money to expand services -- including wellness exams, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and birth control -- to several of its facilities, Garza said, allowing its medical personnel to treat "more than double the number of patients we're able to serve now."

"No one else (in Illinois) applied, so family planning services would not be available to thousands of women," he said. "That's not an exaggeration. That's a fact."

Aunt Martha's announced in mid-July it would forgo $500,000 in federal Title X funding after the state's other two recipients -- Planned Parenthood of Illinois and the Department of Public Health -- made statements calling revised federal regulations "unethical."

The Department of Health and Human Services does not allow medical professionals who work at clinics that accept Title X grants to "perform, promote, or support" abortion procedures.

On Aug. 23, Aunt Martha's reversed its decision due to clarification it received from HHS that staff can tell pregnant women they have three options -- to carry the pregnancy to term, give the baby up for adoption or terminate the pregnancy -- and answer any follow-up questions, but cannot give a referral to an abortion facility.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois declined $3.5 million, and the Department of Public Health, under Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's direction, declined $4 million in Title X grant funding.

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