Nearly 900 clinics that either perform abortions or promote them have lost federal funding under a new Trump administration rule that prevents family planning clinics receiving taxpayer money from promoting or referring for abortion, according to a new report.
At issue is money under Title X, a federal family planning program that funds cancer screenings, contraceptives and pregnancy tests for low-income individuals.
Power to Decide, a pro-choice organization that works to prevent unplanned pregnancies, says in a new report that 876 clinics across the country have lost funding. Among them are clinics tied to Planned Parenthood, which announced in August it would forgo federal funding rather than abide by the rule.
The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services this year began enforcing the new rule, which “prohibits the use of Title X funds to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”
Pro-choice groups have called it a “gag rule,” while pro-life organizations have labeled it the Protect Life Rule.
The Title X program is worth nearly $300 million.
“These centers must now decide between two options: accept funds to support their patients who might not otherwise be able to afford family planning care or withhold information from patients about abortion services,” Power to Decide said in its report.
But the Department of Health and Human Services said clinics that opted out of funding were choosing to “place a higher priority on the ability to refer for abortion instead of continuing to receive federal funds to provide a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services.”
Federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of most abortions. HHS says the new rule reduces “any confusion” on the part of “Title X clinics and the public” about what is “permissible.” Referrals for abortion aren’t permitted “because the statute written by Congress prohibits funding programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” HHS previously said.
Federal courts have upheld the rule.
A separate part of the rule requires recipients to financially and physically separate their abortion services from their non-abortion services. That part of the rule won’t go into effect until March.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Andrew Burton/Staff