Trump To Bar Family Planning Clinics From Abortion Referrals

President Donald Trump looks out at the audience during a speech at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington

President Donald Trump looks out at the audience during a speech at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington

The Trump administration announced Friday that it intends to bar taxpayer-funded family planning centers from promoting or perfoming abortions or referring women to other clinics for them - a move that is likely to yank money from groups like Planned Parenthood.

The administration plan also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

Title X grant recipients were already banned from conducting abortions with these federal funds before Friday's ruling, according to The Washington Post.

The rule threatens federal funding to the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, three years after Republicans with full control of Congress repeatedly failed to make good on campaign promises to defund the organization after undercover videos showed it trafficking in human remains from abortions.

"This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need", Clare Coleman, head of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement.

Politico reported Washington Gov. Jay Inslee vowed to explore challenges to the rule change, contending it "endangers tens of thousands of Washingtonians and millions of Americans".

Title X costs approximately $260-million-a-year and is meant to pay for birth control, STD-testing, infertility testing and other screening services. But what constitutes "family planning" has become a political point of contention.

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Among other concerns, they said there was no advanced public notice and no early outreach to groups that participate in the program.

If the rule goes into effect, Planned Parenthood would be barred from receiving funding from the federal program. And it noted that "numerous major medical associations, 15 governors, 200 members of Congress, more than 20 state and local health departments, and more than 500,000 members of the public submitted comments opposing the rule on constitutional, legal, ethical, and policy grounds". The change would impact any clinic that supports, performs or even refers patients for abortion services. The Clinton administration undid the rule, however, and it has never since been fully restored.

The Trump regulation does allow for a a limited exception to the referral ban.

The practical impact of the new regulation, which will take effect in 60 days, is to bar the clinics from referring women to doctors for the goal of terminating their pregnancies.

"This is a huge step forward in the wake of congressional gridlock on defunding Planned Parenthood", said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life SBA List.

"Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin", said Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. Planned Parenthood serves about 41 percent of Title X patients and receives up to $60 million a year in federal funds for family planning services.

The administration has implemented a similar rule - nicknamed the "Mexico City gag rule" - for grantees of US foreign aid that prevents organizations that get those funds from referring, providing or discussing abortion with patients.

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