Trump bans federal funding for abortion referrals

The Trump administration issued a final rule Feb. 22 that prohibits taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from providing referrals for abortion, according to a Reuters report.

Five things to know:

1. HHS issued the rule as part of the federal family planning program, called Title X.

2. The rule applies to health centers that receive federal family planning money, such as those run by nonprofit Planned Parenthood.

3. It bans using Title X funds "to perform, promote, refer for or support abortion as a method of family planning," and "eliminates the requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral," according to a fact sheet from HHS. While the rule no longer requires nondirective counseling on abortion, it does allow it. HHS said the rule also "provides for clear financial and physical separation between" Title X-funded activities and activities that aren't funded by federal family planning money.

4. Conservative groups supported the rule. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said in a prepared statement that the rule "directs tax dollars to entities that provide healthcare to women but do not perform abortions," and ensures Title X "is truly about funding family planning, not abortion."

5. But critics have already vowed to challenge the rule in court. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a prepared statement that the new rules "will prevent millions of Americans from obtaining the care they need and deserve. New York will not stand by as this administration puts New Yorkers' health at risk for politics, and we will take legal action."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has also announced his opposition.


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