Published: Mon, February 25, 2019
Medical | By Mark Scott

Title X Funding Change Over Abortion Is ‘Domestic Gag Rule,’ Pelosi Says

Title X Funding Change Over Abortion Is ‘Domestic Gag Rule,’ Pelosi Says

The anti-choice policy, an apparent attempt to target Planned Parenthood, prohibits providers receiving federal Title X funding from referring patients for abortion services and forces abortion providers under the program to physically separate abortion services from other family planning services.

The policy released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department pleased conservative evangelicals, a key part of President Trump's political base, and faith-based family planning providers could reap millions at the expense of Planned Parenthood.

"This rule will require Title X providers to maintain physical and financial separation from locations which provide abortion as a method of family planning", the document stated.

Planned Parenthood has said the administration appears to be targeting them. Health and Human Services Department officials have said they were necessary to ensure transparency and the legal and ethical use of taxpayer funds.

Planned Parenthood provides services to just over 40 percent of Title X patients, according to The Washington Post, and "receives about $60 million from the program". Leana Wen warned the group would fight the rule "through every avenue" including litigation.

The administration implemented a similar rule - nicknamed the "Mexico City gag rule" - for grantees of USA foreign aid that prevents organizations that get those funds from referring, providing or discussing abortion with patients.

"Planned Parenthood can not participate in a program that would force our providers to compromise our ethics", said Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has claimed stripping federal funds from the organization would devastate women's access to health care, but private contributions put the organization's donations total at almost $631 million. So a group like Planned Parenthood couldn't get those funds to cover services like contraception for Title X patients.

MCCAMMON: Wen says Planned Parenthood will not comply with the rule. The group has about 600 affiliated health-care centers used by more than 5 million people a year, according to its website. Representative Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called the new rule "another blatant attack on women's health by the Trump Administration that violates the Title X statute and defies Congressional intent".

Abortion-rights supporters have criticized the regulation as a "gag rule" that will prevent doctors from speaking openly with pregnant women about options including abortion. Thus Nixon "proposed federal funding of contraception": "I believe, therefore, that we should establish as a national goal the provision of adequate family planning services within the next five years to all those who want them but can not afford them".

The administration said it will also bar the family planning centers from referring women to other clinics to get abortions. It's expected to be formally published to the Federal Register soon, and would go into effect 60 days later. "This rule compromises the oath that I took to serve patients and help them with making the best decision for their own health". Of note, an October notice from HHS called for groups to apply for Title X funding to offer family planning methods that included natural family planning and abstinence. 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.

'Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin, ' she said. It was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was never implemented, and was rolled back under Bill Clinton's administration in 1993.

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