Trump administration to ban abortion referrals by taxpayer-funded clinics

Trump administration to ban abortion referrals by taxpayer-funded clinics

"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", said Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

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 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. Additionally, any organization that receives Title X funding, including Planned Parenthood, would have to stop performing abortions in order to continue receiving that money. Each year, roughly $2 million in federal funds are given to the organization for health care services.

Wen insisted that abortion is "standard medical health care". Since abortions are Planned Parenthood's highest revenue-generating service, however, that seems unlikely. In November, HHS, issued a funding opportunity announcement for Title X that elevates natural family planning and abstinence counseling as program priorities.

"When congressional action lagged, we worked with the administration on securing this decisive executive action", she said.

"Every woman should be able to access reproductive health care when and where she needs it", Mills said. "The women of this country - and all people who rely on Title X providers - deserve a president who respects them".

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The program, known as Title X, pays for birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings.

In an interview earlier this year, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen said the group could not accept funds under those conditions because it would compromise its ethical obligations to its patients.

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". More often than not, talk with a patient considering abortion extends well beyond simply giving a referral. The change would impact any clinic that supports, performs or even refers patients for abortion services.

Physicians like Jenkins would be barred under the new ruling from answering these questions posed even by patients not seriously considering an abortion.

"Consistent with the statutory requirement that no funds may be expended where abortion is a method of family planning, this regulation no longer requires, and affirmatively prohibits, referral for abortion as a method of family planning", it says. This is the case at each of Maine Family Planning locations statewide. The new policy is certain to be challenged in court. "Of the half a billion dollars or so, around 25 percent was Title X funding, the rest was Medicaid reimbursements".

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.

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