The Trump administration has announced its intention to ban all abortion procedures that would otherwise be funded by federal dollars allocated to family planning services. The bold measure is the latest effort from the Trump White House to curtail abortion services and reduce the funding directed toward controversial nationwide abortive business “Planned Parenthood.”
But despite gaining widespread praise from the pro-life community, does the policy, which has been adopted from a Reagan-era amendment, really defund Planned Parenthood?
“This proposal does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood, as long as they’re willing to disentangle taxpayer funds from abortion as a method of family planning, which is required by the Title X law,” said a Trump administration official, according to CNN. “Any grantees that perform, support, or refer for abortion have a choice — disentangle themselves from abortion or fund their activities with privately raised funds.”
Under the new rules, various family planning services offered by organizations like Planned Parenthood would have to be performed in a different facility from abortion procedures. The centers providing terminations would also require separate employees and clinicians in order to continue to receive federal family planning dollars.
“We thank President Trump for taking action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business,” stated Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “This is a major victory which will energize the grassroots as we head into the critical midterm elections.”
Many pro-abortion advocates and proponents of Planned Parenthood are calling the new law a “gag rule,” insinuating that it will prevent medical professionals from recommending abortion as a viable option. That is not strictly true. The new rules, that will be delivered from the Health and Human Services Department to the Office of Management and Budget, will end a previous element of the Title X grant which required the provision of abortion counseling to patients. The new rules will not, however, prevent medical professionals from discussing abortion with pregnant women.
“Under this rule, docs, nurses, hospitals could not refer women to safe, legal abortion,” tweeted former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards. “Women would no longer be guaranteed the right to health care information from their doctors.”
“This extreme domestic gag rule has never been implemented in the US. This hasn’t been tried since Ronald Reagan was president,” she added. “Major medical groups oppose – this is government telling doctors they can’t give women full and accurate information about their health care and their rights.”
The original 1970 Title X stated: “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
According to The Weekly Standard:
“In the 1970s and 1980s, the law was interpreted to allow Title X programs to refer patients for abortions, be co-located with abortion clinics, and lobby for pro-abortion policies—so long as federal dollars did not directly fund abortions. In 1988, President Reagan’s secretary of Health and Human Services issued regulations to end these practices that blurred the line between funding contraception and promoting abortion.
The 1988 Reagan regulation was immediately challenged in court and never enforced, but it was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in the case Rust v. Sullivan. By the time abortionists might have actually lost their Title X funds, however, Bill Clinton took office and killed the Reagan regulation, a policy that has remained in effect to this day. This anti-abortion regulation wasn’t reinstated by the George W. Bush administration.”
“Far too many lawmakers are trying to roll back our reproductive rights,” Planned Parenthood Action added, following news of Trump’s move.
But Susan B Anthony List has protested this assertion, claiming that this new “Protect Life Rule” simply redirects American tax dollars to “abortion-free zones.”
FACT: Title X provides 4% of PP's income.
PP claims 1.6 M of their 2.4 M clients are served with 4% of their income?
The numbers don't wash.
— Susan B Anthony List (@SBAList) May 18, 2018
“The proposal would require a bright line of physical as well as financial separation between Title X programs and any program (or facility) where abortion is performed, supported, or referred for as a method of family planning,” a Trump administration official told The Weekly Standard in an email.
There is no doubt – this is a massive victory for the pro-life community.
— March for Life (@March_for_Life) May 18, 2018
Planned Parenthood doesn’t help people plan for parenthood — it helps them escape it.
Eliminating Planned Parenthood’s Title X funding would redirect money away from an abortion corporation towards entities that actually assist pregnant women and their families. https://t.co/Dvoutlmczq
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) May 16, 2018
Title X allows tax dollars to directly assist in keeping Planned Parenthood's abortion facilities open and staffed, allowing it to kill 900 preborn children every day. #DefundPP https://t.co/SmhvD3maZn
— Live Action (@LiveAction) May 18, 2018
Pro-life Trump supporters will likely view the announcement as yet another promise kept by the President. Indeed, in a 2016 interview with CBN News, Trump declared that, should he be elected, he would not hesitate to starve Planned Parenthood of federal dollars, stating that “as long as they do the abortion, I am not for funding” the organization.
The untangling of the federal funds allocated to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood has long bee on the agenda of the pro-life campaign base. In a May 1 letter to HHS, Susan B Anthony List urged the Trump administration to take action:
“For far too long the Title X Family Planning Program has been integrated with abortion centers. It is time to act swiftly to disentangle abortion centers from the Title X network. Doing so would be consistent with the President’s pledge and subsequent actions to defund Planned Parenthood and reallocate funding to alternative providers.”
Now, it seems, Trump is well on his way to ticking off another campaign promise and stripping abortion providers of crucial federal funding.