HHS Final Rule Blocks Funding to Clinics With Abortion Services

Posted February 25, 2019

'The Protect Life Rule does not cut family planning funding by a single dime...'(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump finalized the Protect Life Rule on Friday, which redirects government funding away from health centers that provide abortions-partially defunding abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Under the rule, clinics that receive federal family planning funding are prohibited from operating in facilities that also provide abortions, imposing what it described as "financial and physical" separation. The program's annual budget is $286 million per year.

And even though Planned Parenthood insists that the Title X funding it receives is used for the many non-abortion services it provides - including access to birth control, Pap smears, pregnancy and STD testing - conservatives have long argued that the organization and reproductive health care centers like it should be cut off from family planning federal funding altogether. Planned Parenthood said the administration is making another attempt to drive it out of business, after efforts to deny funding failed in Congress.

Saturday, Maine Family Planning announced that it will seek a preliminary injunction to prevent the rule from going into effect.

Title X was created to provide affordable reproductive care to women who otherwise couldn't afford it.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the group's political advocacy arm, said a "gag rule" in the regulation would prevent Planned Parenthood from referring women to health-care providers that perform abortions.

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"The Domestic Gag Rule runs counter to everything we stand for as a reproductive health care organization", says Hill, "We are going to court to make sure ME patients and providers aren't harmed by this blatantly ideological attack on health care for low-income people".

Requires that minors be counseled on how to resist coercion to engage in sexual activity.

The revisions will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, according to HHS.

New York Attorney General Letitia James also threatened "legal action", calling the new rule "dangerous" and "unnecessary".

Wen and other reproductive rights advocates say the new regulations would force groups like Planned Parenthood to refuse Title X funds, which could reduce the number of locations where low-income women and other recipients can receive reproductive health care.

"This clear attack on family planning care could result in lower-quality care or none at all for people struggling to make ends meet", added Coleman, whose organization represents publicly funded family planning providers and administrators. "During the Clinton administration, this program was distorted and Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers started receiving millions of taxpayer dollars".

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The rule, which was announced in May, was modeled after requirements adopted under President Ronald Reagan but never enforced.

But Democratic states and Planned Parenthood are already threatening lawsuits against the new gag rule.

George Hill, President and CEO of Maine Family Planning, says especially troubling is an attempt to dictate whether a provider can discuss abortion services with a patient.

Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose celebrated the rule change as a "crucial step in the right direction", meanwhile.

The move was decried by women's groups and praised by religious conservatives, but it could be some time before women served by the federal family program feel the full impact. In a February 15 letter, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Senators Patty Murray of Washington, Kamala Harris of California and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire called out HHS for taking numerous shortcuts. During a subsequent 60-day comment period, the department said it received more than 500,000 public comments.

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