Trump Administration Moves To Overhaul Family Planning Program

A sign hangs above a Planned Parenthood clinic

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Under the new mandate, which opponents have vowed to challenge in court, federally funded family planning clinics could no longer refer a patient for abortion and would have to have to maintain a "clear physical and financial separation" between services funded by the government and any organization that provides abortions or referrals for abortions.

Planned Parenthood has claimed stripping federal funds from the organization would devastate women's access to health care, but private contributions put the organization's donations total at almost $631 million.

The Trump administration issued a rule on Friday barring groups that provide abortion referrals from participating in the $286 million federal family planning program - a long-expected move that would direct money away from Planned Parenthood and towards faith-based providers.

But in Iowa, Planned Parenthood gets no taxpayer funding. Of note, an October notice from HHS called for groups to apply for Title X funding to offer family planning methods that included natural family planning and abstinence. 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. Tom McClusky with the March for Life says federal funds should only go to organizations that don't provide abortions.

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue said the rule "creates a country where a culture of forced silence dominates over women's health, barring them from accessing the essential care they deserve. where women can't continue to visit their trusted providers for healthcare. where doctors will be forced to hide information from patients".

Requires that minors be counseled on how to resist coercion to engage in sexual activity.

Hill also says the Trump administration seems determined to completely dissociate pregnancy termination from all other reproductive care, and Maine Family Planning views the rule as an attempt to sabotage the Title X program.

Planned Parenthood has said the administration appears to be targeting them, and calls the policy a "gag rule".

It's a shame that the federal Title X family planning program has been co-mingled with abortion ever since President Bill Clinton issued regulations not only removing the wall of separation President Reagan issued, but even illegally requiring groups to refer for abortion.

ME medical providers who receive federal funds said impending federal prohibitions on what doctors can tell patients about reproductive care would jeopardize their ability to deliver that care.

The Department of Health and Human Services put forth a revision of the Title X family planning program, which states that no funds appropriated to the program "may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning and related statutory requirements". "Planned Parenthood serves 41 percent (1.6 million) of the 4 million people in the Title X program; this rule leaves their health, rights, and lives hanging in the balance".

"We thank President Trump and (HHS) Secretary [Alex] Azar for ensuring that the Title X program is truly about funding family planning, not abortion", She continued. Trump's new regulation would apply the "gag rule" to family planning clinics in the U.S. Planned Parenthood is expected to be stripped will be stripped of about $60 million in federal funds due to the rule change. Instead, the money is used for wellness exams, STD and HIV screenings, birth control and contraceptive education, according to Planned Parenthood.

Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose celebrated the rule change as a "crucial step in the right direction", meanwhile. The rule states, "Because positions of conscience are often grounded in religious influence, '[d] enying the aspect of spirituality and religion for some patients can act as a barrier".

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