Title X Funding Change Over Abortion Is ‘Domestic Gag Rule,’ Pelosi Says

Pearl Mccarthy
February 23, 2019

The Trump administration just issued a proposal to deny Planned Parenthood funding through Title X, the marquee federal program that provides family planning services to low-income women.

'The Protect Life Rule does not cut family planning funding by a single dime...'(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump finalized the Protect Life Rule on Friday, which redirects government funding away from health centers that provide abortions-partially defunding abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

The changes block doctors and nurses at health care facilities that receive Title X funds from discussing abortion as a viable option with pregnant patients, or making referrals to abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood lashed out against the rule on Twitter, saying "the administration has put health care providers in the Title X program in an impossible position: withhold information from its patients or get pushed out of the program". It's not official until it appears in the Federal Register and the department said there could be "minor editorial changes".

Dannenfelser argued that the Title X program "was not meant to be a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which violently ends the lives of more than 332,000 unborn babies a year and receives nearly $60 million a year in Title X taxpayer dollars".

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. It disburses portions to each of its 18 owner-operated health care centers.

But Democratic states and Planned Parenthood are already threatening lawsuits against the new gag rule.

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"Since day one, the Trump administration, along with its anti-abortion and anti-contraception allies, has made it clear that they want to undermine and restrict people's access to family planning care", wrote Kinsey Hasstedt, a Senior Policy Manager at the Guttmacher Institute, in an email to CBS News. "The final rule requires physical and financial separation of Title X projects and the provision and promotion of abortion".

Katherine Ragsdale, the interim president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), said in a statement that "any attempt to reduce access to comprehensive reproductive health care simply to score political points with anti-abortion extremists is unacceptable".

"Planned Parenthood will fight the Trump-Pence administration through every avenue so this illegal, unethical rule never goes into effect", Dr. Wen, said on a Friday conference call with reporters. The provider serves about 41 percent of Title X patients and receives about $60 million from the program. In a February 15 letter, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Senators Patty Murray of Washington, Kamala Harris of California and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire called out HHS for taking numerous shortcuts. Their letter pointed out that HHS had failed to provide an adequate cost-benefit analysis or to account for the rule's negative health impacts on the poor women the program serves.

The new rule specifically prohibits "referral for abortion as a method of family planning", but does not bar "nondirective counseling on abortion".

Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, a Republican who has served as co-chair of the House pro-life caucus, celebrated the Trump administration's new rule.

She said the new policy would prevent doctors from referring women for abortions "even if your life depended on it". The Ronald Reagan administration implemented a similar prohibition in 1988 and won a challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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