The Trump administration is officially wading into the abortion debate, announcing Monday that family planning clinics receiving Title X funds can no longer refer women for abortions.
The “Protect Life Rule” as it is known, was allowed to stand by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in June. The three-judge panel called the rules a ‘reasonable’ interpretation of the law, explaining in their ruling that “Title X is a limited grant program focused on providing pre-pregnancy family planning services—it does not fund medical care for pregnant women.”
It also prohibits taxpayer-funded health clinics from advocating, encouraging, or promoting abortion.
The Department of Health and Human Services reportedly now plans to begin enforcing the law, taking effect immediately. Any taxpayer-funded clinic that continues to refer women to abortion providers will be forced to forfeit their funding. HHS will also reportedly require that these clinics remain physically and financially separate from abortion providers.
The move is largely seen as a blow against Planned Parenthood, which noted following the June ruling that “Trump’s gag rule...blocks access to care through the program at Planned Parenthood by imposing cost-prohibitive and unnecessary ‘physical separation’ requirements.”
They further noted that the rule could force many clinics out of the Title X program, which would disproportionately impact low-income women—many of whom are seeking access to other care, such as cancer and STI screenings and affordable birth control.
Planned Parenthood and several other organizations are suing the administration in federal court, but HHS has claimed that there is no judicial order that would prevent them from enforcing the rule while it is being litigated.
Also on Monday, the organization—alongside nearly 80 others—introduced the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice, “a proactive policy agenda for a future where individuals are free and equal and have autonomy over their bodies, no matter where they live.” The blueprint is a response to what the organizations call the “increasingly hostile attacks on reproductive autonomy and rights.”
The American Medical Association, as well as a number of other major medical associations, public health organizations, and lawmakers have opposed the Trump administration’s rule.
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