The Trump administration issued a final rule Friday that underscores that federal taxpayer funds provided for family planning services may not be used to support abortion in any way.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the new rule that could block about $60 million in family planning funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers who refer girls and women for abortions.
The new regulation, which governs Title X, the federal grant program that provides funding for family planning services, prohibits the use of the funds to “perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”
The rule intends to provide a clear line between abortion and family planning.
“This is the kind of policy change that millennials, the nation’s largest voting bloc, support,” said Student for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins in a statement. “Healthcare dollars should fund real, full-service medical care, not abortion vendors”:
— Students for Life (@StudentsforLife) February 22, 2019
The rule reinstates President Ronald Reagan’s “Protect Life Rule,” which bars the “co-location” of federally funded family planning clinics with abortion clinics.
“President Trump’s HHS is taking a major step toward the ultimate goal of ending taxpayers’ forced partnership with the abortion industry,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a statement. “The finalized ‘protect life rule’ draws a bright line between abortion and family planning programs — just as the federal law requires and the Supreme Court has upheld.”
It’s a shame that the federal Title X family planning program has been co-mingled with abortion ever since President Bill Clinton issued regulations not only removing the wall of separation President Reagan issued, but even illegally requiring groups to refer for abortion. The result is that Planned Parenthood — an organization that’s been under criminal investigation for selling baby body parts — gets roughly $60 million per year through what has become a slush fund for the abortion giant.
Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, a Republican who has served as co-chair of the House pro-life caucus, celebrated the Trump administration’s new rule.
“The Title X Program can now finally return to its originally intended purpose—the provision of family planning services, not abortions,” Smith said in a statement sent to Breitbart News. “Title X funding was never intended to facilitate Planned Parenthood’s hideous dismemberment, chemical poisoning, or deliberate starvation and forced expulsion of a defenseless unborn baby.”
“There is nothing benign or compassionate about killing a defenseless child,” Smith asserted. “I am grateful that the Trump administration has affirmed human life and dignity with this pro-child rule.”
Planned Parenthood condemned the new rule, referring to it as a “gag rule”:
BREAKING: Despite massive opposition, the Trump-Pence administration just released its unethical gag rule, making it illegal for Title X health care providers to refer patients for abortion. #NoGagRule #DontGagMyCare pic.twitter.com/i0PYZfUuRj
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) February 22, 2019
Hawkins added that the finalized Title X rules “will redirect some taxpayer resources away from abortion vendors like Planned Parenthood, making more than half-a-billion from us all.”
“This is a life-saving policy change, as abortion vendors have used these family planning resources to underwrite their deadly enterprise,” she said.
As a result of the finalized rule and the clear line that HHS has drawn between family planning and abortion, Planned Parenthood and other abortion vendors who wish to continue to receive Title X family planning funds would have to choose between ending their abortion services from all locations that receive the Title X funding and moving those abortion services offsite to an entirely different location.
“This announcement follows a strong statement by the president in which he committed to veto any legislation that weakens federal policy on abortion,” Perkins said. “President Trump has been persistent in fulfilling his pro-life campaign promises including ensuring that taxpayers are not in a forced partnership with the abortion industry.”
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement that “abortion is neither healthcare nor family planning – which is why the Title X program has no business funding it.”
“We applaud HHS Secretary [Alex] Azar and the Trump administration on this move that protects American taxpayers from paying for abortion through Title X,” she added. “At the same time, the new regulation protects low-income women who rely on Title X assistance because no funds will be cut from the program.”
Mancini observed that women in need can receive family planning services at federally qualified health centers (FQHC) – which outnumber abortion centers 20 to 1.
“At FQHCs women benefit from better regulatory oversight, a wider range of services, and more life-affirming options,” she said. “The new Title X regulations are a win-win for all Americans.”