The Trump administration issued a final rule on Friday that could cost Planned Parenthood tens of millions in federal funding, in a move Politico called "another major policy win for social conservatives looking to prohibit access to abortion".
Planned Parenthood is slamming it as a "nationwide gag rule" that "has never been implemented in the United States before."In a press release, Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the rule "unconscionable and unethical", even comparing abortion to diabetes: "Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin".
"The final rule amends the Title X regulation, which had not been substantially updated in almost two decades, and makes notable improvements created to increase the number of patients served and improve the quality of their care", the department's press release says. A department official confirmed it was the final version. "Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion chain, ending the lives of 900 preborn children every day, while receiving over $60 million in Title X taxpayer funds every year".
President Trump and Republicans generally have been agitating the air in recent weeks about the tiny number of late-term abortions being protected under new state laws that protect this option in cases where the woman's life or health is at risk.
Previous regulations, written during Bill Clinton's presidency, not only allowed for health clinics that were co-located with abortion businesses to receive funds, but also required that Title X recipients refer patients for abortions.
The rule reinstates President Ronald Reagan's "Protect Life Rule", which bars the "co-location" of federally funded family planning clinics with abortion clinics.
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An umbrella group that represents family planning clinics broadly, not only those affiliated with Planned Parenthood, said the administration was acting based on ideology and not in the best interests of patients.
AMA President Barbara McAneny, MD, said in a statement that the rule interferes the with doctor-patient relationship and barring physicians from informing patients of all medical options and rights violates the Code of Medical Ethics. Planned Parenthood is expected to be stripped will be stripped of about $60 million in federal funds due to the rule change. Planned Parenthood says it serves more than 40% of Title X patients.
"It is disturbing and hypocritical to see this administration promote smaller government, and yet, when it comes to women's health, it is quick to force itself into the exam room and dictate what providers can tell their patients", Jamila Taylor, senior fellow of the Center for American Progress' Women's Initiative, said in a statement. "Of the half a billion dollars or so, around 25 percent was Title X funding, the rest was Medicaid reimbursements".
HHS noted that the rule touches the administration's concerns over the "fungibility of Title X resources and the potential use of Title X resources to support programs where, among other things, abortion is a method of family planning".
"We stand ready to take any and all legal action to protect women's health and rights", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement, after the administrator for the Title X program in California reported that the new rules would likely result in increased wait times and delays for care. However, clinics will have 120 days to comply with the requirement that family planning and abortion services are kept financially separated and a year to comply with the physical separation requirement.
Anti-abortion groups were quick to applaud the development, which would effectively defund Planned Parenthood. Our country is at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy and an historic low for pregnancy among teenagers - largely because of expanded access to birth control.