Trump Administration Announces Ban on Abortion Referrals From Taxpayer-Funded Clinics

A sign hangs above a Planned Parenthood clinic

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Released by Health and Human Services, the long-anticipated update to the Title X program states that taxpayer-funded family planning clinics be in separate locations and maintain separate finances from abortion providers.

In order to receive the Title X Family Planning grants, these women's health care providers must be "physically and financially" cut off from abortion services.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, D, tweeted that the new rule is "dangerous & unnecessary", putting millions of Americans at risk, and that the state would take legal action.

The Trump administration rule finalizes some changes in how abortion services are provided under the Title X grant program, the only federal grant program that funds family planning and related services.

The department said there could be "minor editorial changes" to the regulations while a department official confirmed to the Associated Press it was the final version.

Known as Title X, the family-planning program serves about 4 million women annually through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 40 percent of all clients. 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 rule will also force clinics to report cases of rape, incest and human trafficking - as federal law already requires.

Since taking office, Trump has reinstated and expanded the Global Gag Rule, which bans worldwide organisations that receive United States funding from providing abortion services or offering information about the procedure. "At the same time, the new regulation protects low-income women who rely on Title X assistance because no funds will be cut from the program".

"Abortion is not healthcare, yet for decades the federal government has voluntarily supported abortion by subsidizing the industry with hundreds of millions of tax dollars every year", Mancini said.

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"This is a life-saving policy change, as abortion vendors have used these family planning resources to underwrite their deadly enterprise", she said.

"In many parts of the country Planned Parenthood is the only provider who participates in the program", said Dr. Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The move could strip millions of federal dollars from Planned Parenthood and divert it toward faith-based care providers.

'Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin, ' she said.

Reproductive rights advocates are calling this a "domestic gag rule", an allusion to a long-standing Republican worldwide policy known as the "global gag rule" (or Mexico City Policy) prohibiting USA -supported family planning money from going to organizations that perform or promote abortion services. Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, said it demonstrates that Trump has "fulfilled yet another campaign promise", adding that Planned Parenthood "shouldn't be getting a dime of federal funds".

The rule "permits, but no longer requires, nondirective pregnancy counseling, including nondirective counseling on abortion", and removes the requirement for abortion referral and replaces it with the prohibition on abortion referral. And while organizations like the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association are combing through the more than 300-page rule, they say they are also ready to fight and may take legal action.

"We want our patients to know that our doors our open, and we will be here for them", she said.

Saturday, Maine Family Planning announced that it will seek a preliminary injunction to prevent the rule from going into effect.

This final draft follows a roller-coaster year for the existing Title X network.

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