HHS unveils policy blocking Title X funds to abortion providers, referrers

A sign hangs above a Planned Parenthood clinic

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"We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood", SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement, though the Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding for abortion.

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. They must either forgo tens of millions of dollars provided to them under Title X or stop providing abortion related information and services. Major medical associations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association have opposed the rule on the grounds that it violates medical ethics to keep information from patients.

'Religious conservatives have long argued that the program indirectly subsidizes Planned Parenthood.

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

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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.

"I want people to think about what if this were any other aspect of medical care - imagine if the Trump administration prevented people with diabetes from talking to their doctors about insulin", she said.

The organization claims "thousands of people will be left with nowhere to turn for health care" because of the decision. "We will fight this rule with everything we have", Wen warned. It effectively institutes what opponents have called a "gag rule", similar to what his administration mandates for overseas health providers that receive federal funds. The result is that Planned Parenthood - an organization that's been under criminal investigation for selling baby body parts - gets roughly $60 million per year through what has become a slush fund for the abortion giant.

"The final rule amends the Title X regulation, which had not been substantially updated in almost two decades, and makes notable improvements created to increase the number of patients served and improve the quality of their care", the department's press release says.

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"Abortion is neither health care nor family planning which is why the Title X program has no business funding it", March for Life president Jeanne Mancini echoed in a statement. In short, participating providers will no longer be required to offer both pregnancy or abortion counseling, as they were before. HHS said that mandate is "inconsistent with federal conscience laws". So it's not clear how soon or if groups like Planned Parenthood might feel any effect from this substantial overhaul of the federal family planning program.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declared: "Republicans must end their relentless assault on women's health care and rights". If a pregnant patient has chose to have an abortion and makes an explicit request for a referral, a doctor would be allowed to provide a list of comprehensive care providers as long as she or he does not indicate which of them offer abortion services.

Democratic members of Congress last week objected to what they have called an "unconventional and nontransparent" review process for the rule and called on the Office of Management and Budget to send it back to HHS for more analysis. In a February 15 letter, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) and Sens. Patty Murray of Washington, Kamala Harris of California and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.

The grant programme costs taxpayers about $260m a year. 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". The Clinton administration undid the rule, however, and it has never since been fully restored.

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