Federally funded clinics barred from offering abortion help under new rule

24 February, 2019, 21:45 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • 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

President Donald Trump energized the pro-life movement on Friday when his administration announced it plans to cut off millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers with a final rule revising the revamped Title X program.

Under the new mandate, which opponents have vowed to challenge in court, federally funded family planning clinics could no longer refer a patient for abortion and would have to have to maintain a "clear physical and financial separation" between services funded by the government and any organization that provides abortions or referrals for abortions.

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

And Friday's new Title X rule marks a significant step toward that goal. 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".

Known as Title X, the family-planning programme serves about four million women annually through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates. In addition, the program will enhance efforts to protect women and children from becoming victims of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest and intimate partner violence, according to Health and Human Services. Two days before the Trump aministration issued its new rule on Title X, the Vermont House passed legislation guaranteeing a woman's right to receive an abortion, even if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

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.

"We don't accept any restrictive state or federal funding, and this is the reason", says Andrea Irwin, executive director of the Mabel Wadsworth Center, which provides women's health care in Bangor. Trump's new regulation would apply the "gag rule" to family planning clinics in the U.S. Planned Parenthood now gets about $60 million a year nationwide in Title X federal funding. Additionally, any organization that receives Title X funding, including Planned Parenthood, would have to stop performing abortions in order to continue receiving that money.

But it's disturbing nonetheless, she said.

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Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, recently told NPR that withholding information about abortion from Title X patients would violate medical ethics.

"This rule compromises the oath that I took to serve patients and help them with making the best decision for their own health", Wen said in a statement.

"In the year 2014 to 2015, federal and state funding to Planned Parenthood amounted to $553 million or 40 percent of the organization's budget", Newsweek reported last year.

"We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion industry", said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins used politically charged language in a statement on the finalized rule to dubiously connect abortion services to infanticide.

"We could provide abstinence programs; we could provide natural family planning. but not have to provide these other services", Dickerson said.

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

Title X was born from President Richard Nixon's belief that unchecked population growth, particularly of poor minorities, represented "a global threat to humankind".

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