Trump just gave abortion foes a long-awaited win

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 21, 2018

Ms Marcella said requiring clinics to be physically separate from facilities in which abortion is provided is impractical, and would disrupt services for women across the country.

In February, the Trump administration shifted guidelines for the Title X grants toward prioritizing groups that are faith-based and counsel abstinence.

Planned Parenthood dubbed the proposal as "dangerous" and "outrageous" and said it would "have devastating consequences". Title X-funded health centers also provide several basic services such as cancer screenings and pregnancy testing.

The Trump administration has moved closer to issuing a regulation that would reinstate a restriction first issued during the Reagan administration meant to prevent federal funds from being used even indirectly to support clinics that provide abortions.

This came to a head when anti-abortion organisation The Center for Medical Progress secretly recorded a Planned Parenthood official discussing how to obtain aborted foetal tissue for medical research, discussing details like how to "crush" the foetus in certain ways to preserve its organs.

Planned Parenthood operates five health centers in the city (one in each borough) and serves 60,000 New Yorkers a year.

Federal law has long prohibited the use of public money to subsidize abortion procedures. But Warren, who was among many lawmakers who signed a letter protesting the Title X changes, says "there's a lot more on the line as well". Currently, according to Axios, Title X has a $286 million budget that funds about 4,000 clinics (about 500 of them Planned Parenthood) serving about four million women.

Warren also called the fight a matter of equity. Critics of the rule have likened it to a "gag rule", prohibiting health care providers from mentioning abortion in the exam room. According to the above email, a clinic providing other services could get funding by simply stopping to provide abortion as well. "An unplanned pregnancy can derail an education or the early steps of a career".

Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated exclusively to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. It is an indication of the rightward lurch of the entire political establishment that Nixon's promise now stands in stark contrast to Trump's reactionary rule.

The White House, however, sought to frame the new proposal as simply shoring up existing law.

This newly proposed rule has always been sought by conservatives.

The Trump administration deserves tremendous credit for protecting the sanctity of life and ensuring taxpayer dollars are not funneled to abortion providers.

However, "contrary to recent media reports, HHS's proposal does not include the so-called "gag rule" on counseling about abortion" that was part of a Title X regulation issued in 1988 by the Reagan administration, the White House said.

A similar law in Missouri is now being considered in federal court, and would only go into effect in Louisiana if it is upheld in court. "Anticipated changes to Title X pose an egregious intrusion in the patient-provider relationship", Hal Lawrence, MD, executive vice president and CEO of ACOG, said in a statement.

And in January 2017 he signed a "global gag rule", also known as the Mexico City Policy, that bans worldwide organizations from receiving US funding if they provide any abortion services (including counseling, referring, and lobbying for them). His Democratic successor, Bill Clinton, ultimately rescinded it in 1993.

Tuesday night, Trump is scheduled to speak at the Susan B. Anthony List's "campaign for life" gala.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was one of the signatories, said, "This attack on Title X is another part of a broader assault by Republicans on the health, safety, and economic independence of women and their families".

President Trump, in essence, is doing what a Republican-controlled Congress could not: taking direct aim at Planned Parenthood.

But Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said, "Abortion is not health care or birth control and many women want natural health care choices, rather than hormone-induced changes". "No matter what", she said in a statement.

"Under this rule, people will not get the health care they need".

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