The Trump administration has acted to deny federal funding to groups that either perform abortions or push women toward agencies that do so.
The rule to enforce the administration’s Title X policy went into effect Monday. If successfully carried out, the rule would strike a blow to Planned Parenthood, which serves about 40 percent of all Title X clients, CBS reported.
Planned Parenthood has been battling the Trump administration ever since the rule was first proposed, but recently lost a case to block the rule when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the administration to enforce the rule even as Planned Parenthood appeals the ruling. The case is likely to make its way to the Supreme Court.
Pro-life advocates praised the administration’s action.
“We are confident that the Trump administration will ultimately prevail and grateful that, in the meantime, the Protect Life Rule can immediately begin saving lives,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement.
Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina agreed, posting on Twitter the “great news”:
Great news: today the Trump administration is immediately beginning to implement President Trump’s ‘Protect Life Rule,’ stopping taxpayer funding of the abortion industry—something widely supported by Americans. Promise kept from the President.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) July 16, 2019
“Ending the connection between abortion and family planning is a victory for common-sense health care,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, said in a statement, according to CBS.
“People don’t want to be in business with the nation’s number one abortion vendor, and if Planned Parenthood wants to provide family planning services, then rules are in place to make sure that the focus stays on family, not abortion,” Hawkins added, according to The Washington Post.
The rule will be tested. Planned Parenthood has said it will defy the administration.
“We are not going to comply with a regulation that would require health care providers to not give full information to their patients,” Jacqueline Ayers, the group’s top lobbyist, said, according to ABC. “We believe as a health care provider it is wrong to withhold health care information from patients.”
Not all states will heed the ruling.
“It’s safe to say that Washington state won’t come into compliance with the rules,” Casey Katims, a spokesperson for Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democratic presidential candidate, said.
Inslee was not the only high-profile Democrat to oppose the administration’s action. Fellow presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, announced his opposition to the rule on Twitter:
Trump’s gag rule is an attack on women, their health care, and their rights. I stand with @PPact in fighting these dangerous efforts. Regardless of income, everyone should have access to reproductive health care—and that includes abortion. https://t.co/BmilQaD3Kz
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 16, 2019
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has defended the policy as a return to enforcing the law as it stands, Fox News reported.
“For too long that money has been used to subsidize the provision of abortion contrary to statute. Congress has said that you cannot support abortion as a method of family planning,” Azar said last month. “We’re just finally enforcing it.”
A rule to formally ban Title X recipients from referring families to abortion providers as a means of family planning was adopted by the Reagan administration, but revised after former President Bill Clinton took office to allow abortion to be mentioned among alternatives.
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