Joe Biden’s administration reversed the previous president’s policy against giving taxpayer money to organisations that kill unborn babies on Oct. 4.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will rescind a Donald Trump-era ban on federally funding clinics that terminate pregnancies. HHS will also let service providers refer patients to “family planning clinics” for the controversial procedure.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra (D) claimed the policy reversal would restore the federal family planning program to its state in the former Obama administration, when clinics could refer women seeking abortions to a provider.
This will “strengthen and restore” services, he said according to the Associated Press.
Clinics that receive federal funds will once again be able to refer pregnant women for abortions starting from Nov. 8.
Trump’s regulation has been in force since February 2019. It prevents organizations, which perform abortions and make referrals for that purpose, from receiving federal Title X funds.
Title X is a nearly half century-old federal family planning program that provides about $286 million in annual grants to clinics that primarily serve low-income people.
“None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” Trump’s pro-life regulation said. “Title X regulations are amended to require physical and financial separation to ensure clarity regarding the purpose of Title X and compliance with statutory program integrity provisions, and to encourage family participation in family planning decisions.”
This ban forced Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics to offer cancer screenings, Papanicolaou (Pap smear) tests, breast exams, and other health services.
About a quarter of clinics that used to operate with Title X funds closed in 2019 due to the ban, according to the Washington Post.
President Biden recently criticized his predecessor’s pro-life stance. The Democrat accused the ban of putting “women’s health at risk by making it difficult for women to receive complete medical information,” according to World Today News.
HHS originally proposed regulatory changes in April but had to undergo a period of notice, discussions and additional review before the rule could be finalized.
The abortion industry welcomed the department’s decision to repeal Trump’s funding ban.
“The end of the Title X gag rule is a major victory,” Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement. “Title X is a critical piece of our social safety net that can, and should, ensure that people with low incomes can access essential health care without forcing providers to withhold referrals for all of the options available to them.”
The Family Research Council and other pro-life organizations have expressed dissatisfaction with the new rules.