The Trump administration told Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers Saturday they would have until Sept. 18 to abide by the new Protect Life Rule instead of it taking effect immediately.
Planned Parenthood could lose as much as $60 million annually under the rule, which prohibits federal Title X money from going to clinics that “perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”
Title X is a $300 million federal family-planning program that funds services such as pregnancy tests, cancer screenings and contraception.
The Department of Health and Human Services – bolstered by positive rulings from two federal court panels – announced early last week the rule would take effect immediately.
But on Saturday, HHS issued a two-page rule giving abortion and family planning clinics until Sept. 18 to follow the rule, The Washington Post reported. Clinics had complained HHS had gone back on its promise to give them detailed information on how to interpret and follow the rules.
One point of confusion is the definition of “nondirective counseling,” The Post reported. The new HHS rule “permits” but “no longer requires” nondirective pregnancy counseling, “including nondirective counseling on abortion.”
Supporters call the new rule the Protect Life Rule. Abortion rights organizations have labeled it the “gag rule.”
“The notice says that the grant recipients must provide within a month assurance that they do ‘not include abortion as a method of family planning’ – even with outside money, as has been allowed until now,” The Post reported. “They also must submit an ‘action plan’ describing the ways they will comply with all aspects of the new rules.”
Planned Parenthood has said it won’t abide by the new rule.
Another section of the rule won’t take effect until next year. That section requires clinics to physically and financially separate their abortion services from their non-abortion services.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Zach Gibson/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.