Trump bars clinic referrals, sets up other abortion obstacles

Chicago. Under the new rule posted Friday by the federal Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs any organization that provides or refers patients for abortion

The policy released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department pleased religious conservatives, a key building block of President Donald Trump's political base.

"Planned Parenthood will fight the Trump-Pence administration through every avenue so this illegal, unethical rule never goes into effect", she told reporters in a call after the rule was announced, reported the Washington Examiner.

The rule is expected to result in a dramatic change in the type of information the roughly 4 million women participating in the Title X program receive.

Although the policy was published Friday, it's not official until it appears in the Federal Register, and changes may be made before that occurs. A statement from HHS read, "The final rule ensures compliance with statutory program integrity provisions governing the program and, in particular, the statutory prohibition on funding programs where abortion is a method of family planning".

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement that "abortion is neither healthcare nor family planning - which is why the Title X program has no business funding it".

She also praised the rule for keeping the overall funds intact while cutting out abortion providers.

Previous regulations, written during Bill Clinton's presidency, not only allowed for health clinics that were co-located with abortion businesses to receive funds, but also required that Title X recipients refer patients for abortions. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said that the "finalized "protect life rule" draws a bright line between abortion and family planning programs". Thus, a family planning provider funded by Title X can list a group of providers but cannot single out which ones offer abortion.

"The implications of the Trump-Pence administration's attack on Title X with a gag rule are staggering", tweeted Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood's president.

That will hit Planned Parenthood the hardest: It receives between $50 million and $60 million of the $286 million distributed in what are known as Title X grants.

"When congressional action lagged, we worked with the administration on securing this decisive executive action", she said. But language in the rule reflects sentiments of Planned Parenthood critics, who insist that the group's ability to house abortion services under the same roof amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of abortion, which is a violation of the law's intent.

Leaders of health associations representing black and Latino health care providers and patients joined Wen at a news briefing to decry the new rule 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.

The new regulation "permits, but no longer requires, nondirective pregnancy counseling, including nondirective counseling on abortion".

'The Title X program was not meant to be a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, ' Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement.

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.

Proposed by Trump in May, the new restrictions will "deeply impact" the ability of nurse practitioners at Title X facilities to provide comprehensive services, and "contradict medical ethics", said Julie Jenkins, a nurse practitioner at Belfast Family Planning. "Of the half a billion dollars or so, around 25 percent was Title X funding, the rest was Medicaid reimbursements".

The ban affects the Title X family planning program, which focuses on providing family planning services to low-income families.

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