New Trump Policy Prohibits Abortion Referrals at Family Planning Clinics

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The federal government will cut off some funds to family planning providers that offer abortions or refer women for abortions under an action from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Under the new rule, health clinics must be "physically and financially" separate from abortion providers in order to receive Title X family planning grants.

Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen said on Friday that "the Title X gag rule will essentially dismantle this critical federal program" and that in many remote or rural areas of the U.S., Planned Parenthood is "the only provider who participates in the program".

A final rule governing the changes to the Title X program and backed by President Donald Trump was relea se d Friday, and will go into effect 60 days after it's filed in the Federal Register, though it's expected to be appealed in court. Health and Human Services Department officials have said they were necessary to ensure transparency and the legal and ethical use of taxpayer funds. It serves about 4 million women annually, costing taxpayers about $260 million.

Title X is a federal program created in 1965 that subsidizes family-planning and preventative health services, including contraception, for low-income families. The release by HHS notes that from the beginning of the fund in 1970, Congress "was clear that Title X funds can not be used to support abortion".

"Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin", she said. It also forbids Title X locations from giving abortion referrals.

Federal law bans the use of taxpayer money for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when a pregnanat mother's life is in danger. They will also replace a 2016 rule that placed restrictions on states and others entities receiving Title X funding.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement that her group was 'celebrating the newly finalized Title X rules that will redirect some taxpayer resources away from abortion vendors'.

Planned Parenthood, whose affiliates are major providers of family planning services as well as abortions, said the administration is trying to impose a "gag rule", and launched a full campaign to block it.

Under the current policy, Title X physicians present multiple family planning options to pregnant patients, even those who know they want an abortion, Jenkins said.

"Abortion is neither health care nor family planning which is why the Title X program has no business funding it", March for Life president Jeanne Mancini echoed in a statement. Planned Parenthood says it serves more than 40% of Title X patients.

On Friday, the Trump administration quietly handed social conservatives what may be their biggest victory yet.

Republicans have long called for Planned Parenthood to be defunded, and while this move does not achieve that, it will be seen as a significant step toward that goal by conservatives. The organization said the requirements of clear separation between family planning clinics and abortion facilities would force it to build separate entrances and exits at its facilities along with other measures.

This new rule preserves the dignity of Title X, a program built to protect the family, said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. Formally known as the Protect Life Rule, this resembles a similar "gag rule" that already applies to federal funds allocated to reproductive health organizations operating overseas.

The Trump administration is now rolling back the Clinton requirement that abortion be discussed as an option along with prenatal care and adoption.

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