The Trump administration will bar organizations that provide abortion referrals from receiving federal family planning money.
The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its final rule in February changing funding regulations under the Title X family planning program, a long-awaited action expected to reduce Planned Parenthood’s federal tax subsidies by almost $60 million.
This will bar taxpayer-funded family planning centers from promoting or performing abortions or referring women to other clinics for them – a move that is likely to yank money from groups like Planned Parenthood.
Life Site News reports:
President Trump announced the move last May, which will require facilities providing Title X services to be physically separate from those that commit or refer for abortions. Under the previous rules, Title X services and abortions could “co-locate” in the same center, as long as the abortions were privately funded. Now, the money will be redirected to Women’s Qualified Health Centers that are not involved in abortions, which dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood locations across the United States.
According to an HHS press release and fact sheet released Friday, the finalized language requires “clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning,” bans “referral for abortion as a method of family planning,” eliminates a “requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral,” and requires “more complete reporting by grantees about subrecipients and more clarity about informal partnerships with referral agencies.”
“The final rule amends the Title X regulation, which had not been substantially updated in nearly two decades, and makes notable improvements designed to increase the number of patients served and improve the quality of their care,” the department’s press release says. “The Department received and carefully reviewed more than 500,000 comments, and made certain changes to the final rule as a result of its consideration of the comments.”
The move is likely to have support from President Trump’s conservative base, while enraging pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood. The Washington Examiner reports that Planned Parenthood covers roughly 40 percent of people who use Title X to get medical services and receives between $50-60 million from Title X.
Fox News reports:
Title X costs approximately $260-million-a-year and is intended to pay for birth control, STD-testing, infertility testing and other screening services. The release by HHS notes that from the beginning of the fund in 1970, Congress “was clear that Title X funds cannot be used to support abortion.”
“Consistent with the statutory requirement that no funds may be expended where abortion is a method of family planning, this regulation no longer requires, and affirmatively prohibits, referral for abortion as a method of family planning,” it says.
In a statement, Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the rule “unconscionable and unethical.”
“This rule compromises the oath that I took to serve patients and help them with making the best decision for their own health,” she said. “Patients expect their doctors to speak honestly with them, to answer their questions, to help them in their time of need.”
“Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin. It would never happen,” she added. “Reproductive health care should be no different. Reproductive health care is health care and health care is a basic human right.”
The former GOP majority’s failure to defund Planned Parenthood during the president’s first two years remains a source of frustration among pro-lifers, particularly now that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives can block defunding legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused House pro-lifers’ calls to reconsider Senate filibuster rules to pass pro-life bills, and National Review reports that former House Speaker Paul Ryan downplayed defunding Planned Parenthood during budget negotiations.
For the next two years, the pro-life agenda in the federal government is largely focused on confirming hopefully-pro-life judges in the Senate, introducing legislation that cannot pass but can put pro-abortion politicians on the record, and whatever administrative actions the executive branch can take to regulate and investigate the abortion industry, Life Site News reported.