Crown Heights

Two Brooklyn women’s clinics may shutter as state looks to replace Trump funding cuts

August 13, 2019 Kelly Mena

Two Central Brooklyn women’s health centers serving low-income women and women of color are facing closure due to a Trump administration rule restricting federal funds from abortion-related service providers. Now, the organization’s leadership is scrambling to find a lifeline.

The “gag rule,” enacted by the Trump administration earlier this year, says federal Title X funding — which is used for family planning services — may not be distributed to organizations that perform abortions or refer women to abortion services.

The Brooklyn clinics, managed by Public Health Solutions, provide referrals, meaning they are now forced to choose between limiting the scope of their services or losing funding entirely.

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PHS head Lisa David said in a public statement that the group refused to cut off “patients’ full information about family planning options and referring patients to abortion services.”

The pair of clinics in Fort Greene and Crown Heights were set to close this month, but they may get a reprieve from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. The governor is reportedly in talks to release a portion of $16 million in replacement Title X funding allocated in the state budget. Cuomo’s office declined to comment.

“We are currently engaged in conversations with the state regarding replacement funding to keep the doors to our health centers open. We will continue to fight for health equity for all low-income New Yorkers,” David told the Brooklyn Eagle.

In a request for support sent earlier this month, David said PHS turned down the federal government’s $4.6 million in Title X federal funds because it went against the organization’s mission.

“We cannot commit to complying with rules that would render us unable to provide the care we believe in: comprehensive, quality family planning services for low-income New Yorkers who need them the most,” David wrote in an Aug. 2 email to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, which was obtained by the Eagle.


PHS manages six health centers and 13 service sites, but the two Central Brooklyn locations are the only ones funded exclusively by Title X.

The clinics serve women across Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Crown Heights, East New York, Flatbush and Fort Greene.

Nearly two-thirds of visitors to the two clinics — adults and teens alike — live below the poverty line, according to PHS. More than half rely on public health insurance programs, and almost one-quarter lack health insurance altogether.

“While we are hopeful New York State will maintain its national leadership role in protecting reproductive rights, we are running out of time,” David wrote in an Aug. 2 email to members of the Women’s Caucus of the New York City Council. “If we do not secure replacement funding by the end of the week, PHS will be closing our two sexual and reproductive health centers serving high-need communities throughout Brooklyn.”

Correction (3:35 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Lisa David as Linda David. The story has been updated, and the Eagle regrets the error. 


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