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Trump Admin to Take Millions Away from Abortion Providers

By Kathryn Blackhurst | February 22, 2019

President Donald Trump energized the pro-life movement on Friday when his administration announced it plans to cut off millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers with a final rule revising the revamped Title X program.

The new rule “prohibits the use of Title X funds to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website.

Taxpayer-funded health care providers that offer abortions or refer women to other providers for abortions will no longer be eligible for these federal funds, according to the final rule.

In order to receive the Title X Family Planning grants, these women’s health care providers must be “physically and financially” cut off from abortion services.

The new rule does not, however, prevent the “nondirective pregnancy counseling, including nondirective counseling on abortion,” according to HHS.

Such counseling is simply no longer required.

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

Pro-life advocates and many Republican lawmakers have long called for the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood. And Friday’s new Title X rule marks a significant step toward that goal.

“It is absolutely appropriate that the new Title X regulations take into account the difference between abortion and healthcare,” March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement on Friday. “Abortion is neither health care nor family planning which is why the Title X program has no business funding it.”

Mancini said that March for Life applauds the Trump administration “on this move that protects American taxpayers from paying for abortion through Title X.” She noted that women will “benefit from better regulatory oversight, a wider range of services, and more life-affirming options.”

“The new Title X regulations are a win-win for all Americans,” Mancini said.

Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) List President Marjorie Dannenfelser thanked President Trump in a statement for “taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood.”

“The Protect Life Rule does not cut family planning funding by a single dime, and instead directs tax dollars to entities that provide healthcare to women but do not perform abortions,” Dannenfelser said.

Dannenfelser argued that the Title X program “was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which violently ends the lives of more than 332,000 unborn babies a year and receives almost $60 million a year in Title X taxpayer dollars.”

“We thank President Trump and (HHS) Secretary [Alex] Azar for ensuring that the Title X program is truly about funding family planning, not abortion,” She continued.

But Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen pledged — through a series of tweets — to “fight this rule with everything we have.”

“The implications of the Trump-Pence administration’s attack on Title X with a gag rule are staggering. It compromises the oath I took to serve my patients and help them make the best decisions about their health,” Wen wrote.

Wen insisted that abortion is “standard medical health care.”

She also accused “the Trump-Pence administration” of carrying out “an attack on poor women and people of color” with the Title X rule.

“Planned Parenthood is proud to serve 41% of the 4 million people who rely on Title X health centers. We will always be here for our patients. We will fight this rule with everything we have,” Wen warned.

Katherine Ragsdale, the interim president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), said in a statement that “any attempt to reduce access to comprehensive reproductive health care simply to score political points with anti-abortion extremists is unacceptable.”

Related: Trump Defends Sanctity of Life for Babies ‘Made in the Holy Image of God’

“It is unfathomable that anyone would want to prevent health care providers from giving their patients referrals to other safe, quality health care providers,” Ragsdale said. “This is another clear sign that President Trump and his administration would rather bow to anti-abortion extremists than ensure people in America have access to the quality health care they need.”

Lawmakers also reacted to the new pro-life Title X rule.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) tweeted, “An important move from the president here on Title X and yet another promise kept. Forcing taxpayers to fund abortion providers is wrong and should’ve ended long ago.”

“This is nothing less than an all-out attack on Americans’ health and rights, and on health care providers’ ability to do their jobs,” tweeted Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 presidential hopeful. “The women of this country — and all people who rely on Title X providers — deserve a president who respects them.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused the Trump administration of imposing “radical Republican views on American women by putting obstacles in the way of accessing care they deserve” in protecting the unborn.

“This is yet another example of the systematic health care sabotage that Republicans have been implementing since day one of the Trump administration, but this time, women’s reproductive rights are the casualty,” Schumer tweeted.

One of the 2020 presidential hopefuls, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), tweeted, “In yet another attack on women’s right to access reproductive health care, this administration just banned Title X health care providers from referring patients for abortion services. This is both outrageous and dangerous. We will fight back.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), another 2020 presidential candidate, tweeted, “This new rule is a disgraceful assault on women’s right and an assault on millions of Americans’ ability to get the health care they need. Title X funds provide much-needed family planning services for millions of people. Congress must take action to overturn the final rule.”

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This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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