Centers like Planned Parenthood that provide abortion services or referrals will no longer be able to receive federal funding due to a new rule enacted by the Trump administration Friday.
The change requires family planning centers to have a “clear physical and financial separation” between government-funded services and abortion-related services, meaning these centers could be forced to build separate buildings or hire entirely new staff if they’re to continue abortion services.
While the change was touted as necessary to ensure transparency and appeases pro-life conservatives, opponents like New York attorney general Letitia James have promised to fight the rule in the court.
According to the Washington Post, Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter calling out the Department of Health and Human Services for its “unconventional and nontransparent” review process for the rule last week.
“Numerous major medical associations, 15 governors, 200 members of Congress, more than 20 state and local health departments, and more than 500,000 members of the public submitted comments opposing the rule on constitutional, legal, ethical, and policy grounds,” read the letter, according to the Post.
The “gag rule” has been decried for the effect it will have on lower-income women who use such family planning centers, as Title X, the federal family planning program, is geared towards low-income or uninsured individuals.
Planned Parenthood serves about 41% of Title X patients and receives about $60 million from the program, according to the Post. Dr. Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood, called the rule change “unconscionable and unethical,” promising her organization “won’t ever withhold medical information from our patients.”
“Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin. It would never happen,” said Wen in a statement. “Reproductive health care should be no different.”