On Friday, officials from the White House announced that plans are underway to ban federal funds for family planning clinics that provide information on abortions.
According to The Hill, the administration’s “Protect Life” rule would take away federal funding from practices that refer women to abortion services and remove the requirement that clinics must concede abortion as an option for patients.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced early Friday morning the proposed changes to the Title X Federal Family Planning Program, which offers family planning services such as birth control and pregnancy tests to low-income individuals.
As of now, federal law requires clinics to counsel pregnant women on all of their options, ranging anywhere from adoption to abortion.
Though the counseling of abortion options would no longer be required under the new rule, it would still be optional, and clinics would likewise be banned from sharing space with abortion providers.
“Protect Life” would essentially allow faith-based groups and companies to feel more comfortable participating in the counseling programs, as the issue of abortion had only increased tensions and lack of participation in the past.
The new regulations were sent to the Office of Management and Budget at the White House on Thursday, though it’s not clear when the review will be completed. If approved, the changes would be published and made available to public comment.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both spoken at the annual “March For Life” demonstration, that protests the practice and legality of abortion.
Trump is set to speak on Tuesday for the Susan B. Anthony “Campaign for Life” gala, which helps raise funds for the group’s campaign efforts.
The swift change, which had been attempted during Ronald Reagan’s time as president but was never upheld, seems to be the result of increased pressure from conservative and anti-abortion groups who have called for Title X’s reformation.
Earlier this month, HHS Secretary Alex Azar received letters from nearly 80 anti-abortion groups and hundreds of congressional Republicans who demanded changes to the program.
The groups have also called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood — America’s largest abortion provider.
However, the organization plans to fight back on what they say is a threat to women’s reproductive health.
“This is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights, period. Under this rule, people will not get the health care they need. They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams,” said Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
President of Susan B. Anthony List Marjorie Dannenfelser thanked Trump “for taking action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business.”
“President Trump has shown decisive leadership, delivering on a key promise to pro-life voters who worked so hard to elect him. This is a major victory which will energize the grassroots as we head into the critical midterm elections.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.