New Trump Policy Prohibits Abortion Referrals at Family Planning Clinics

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Activists in the anti-choice movement are ecstatic about the Trump administration's Friday announcement that it had finalized the language of its restrictions on Title X family planning funds, also known as the "domestic gag rule".

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.

The rule, first proposed previous year, has been popular with President Trump's socially conservative base.

The anticipated ruling is predicted to cut $60 million from Planned Parenthood's coffers. Each year, roughly $2 million in federal funds are given to the organization for health care services. In Arkansas, the group provides only medication abortion in the first weeks of pregnancy, not clinical abortions.

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

Taxpayer-funded health care providers that offer abortions or refer women to other providers for abortions will no longer be eligible for these federal funds, according to the final rule.

How did Planned Parenthood respond? 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".

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Last year, as attorney general, Mills joined states across the country in a lawsuit attempting to block the Trump administration from making such changes to Title X.

Last month, a USA judge in California blocked a Trump administration birth control coverage rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control, from taking effect in 13 states and Washington, DC.

The organization claims "thousands of people will be left with nowhere to turn for health care" because of the decision.

It doesn't mean that poor women can't get birth control. Leana Wen warned the group would fight the rule "through every avenue" including litigation.

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Central to opponents' concerns about the ruleare provisions that prohibit health care providers who receive federal funding from performing abortions or even referring patients elsewhere for the procedure.

Read the full text of the Trump administration's proposal here.

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"The Domestic Gag Rule runs counter to everything we stand for as a reproductive health care organization", says Hill, "We are going to court to make sure ME patients and providers aren't harmed by this blatantly ideological attack on health care for low-income people". It also makes birth control available for free or low cost to people whose employer-sponsored health plan doesn't cover contraception based on religious objections.

The law prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. They said women from their communities make up more than half the beneficiaries of Title X grants and would be disproportionately harmed by the changes.

Critics have decried the change as a "gag rule" that would undermine the doctor-patient relationship. This afternoon Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, the advocacy arm of New York's Planned Parenthood chapters, issued a statement opposing the rule. He's with the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. "With respect to conscience, the regulatory requirement to counsel on abortion, if requested, conflicts with HHS enforced statutes protecting conscience in health care", HHS said.

MCCAMMON: So anti-abortion rights groups are very pleased with this rule. "President Trump has been persistent in fulfilling his pro-life campaign promises including ensuring that taxpayers are not in a forced partnership with the abortion industry". They've called it a gag rule and say it would prevent doctors from speaking freely with their Title X-funded patients.

Planned Parenthood is crying "wolf". She says it's unethical for providers to censor information about abortion.

"President Trump has stepped in and taken decisive action where Congress has failed us". Planned Parenthood serves about 41 percent of Title X patients and receives about $60 million from the program.

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