Taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions immediately, the Trump administration announced on Monday, July 15. The rule, called Protect Life Rule, which prohibits recipients of Title X family planning funds from referring or providing abortion services, will go into effect immediately. 

This follows a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on June 20 ruling that the Trump administration’s family planning rules, Protect Life Rule, can go into effect.

This would withdraw federal Title X financing from any medical facility providing abortions, abortion counseling, or abortion referrals.

Ahead of a planned conference Tuesday with the clinics, the Health and Human Services Department formally notified them that it will begin enforcing the ban on abortion referrals, along with a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions. Another requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot be under the same roof would take effect next year, according to AP.

It seems that the rules are aimed at Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood’s clinics are major recipients of funds for family planning and preventive care. In the 2016 presidential election campaign, President Trump wanted to defund the organization.

HHS said no judicial orders currently prevent it from enforcing the rule while the litigation proceeds, according to AP.

Abortion opponents welcomed the administration’s move. “Ending the connection between abortion and family planning is a victory for common-sense health care,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, said in a statement.

Known as Title X, the family planning program serves about 4 million women annually through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 40 percent of all clients. The program provides about $260 million a year in grants to clinics, according to AP.

When the rules were introduced in February, SBA list, a pro-life network had welcomed the rule.

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, said, “We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood.”

“The Protect Life Rule does not cut family planning funding by a single dime, and instead directs tax dollars to entities that provide health care to women but do not perform abortions. The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which violently ends the lives of more than 332,000 unborn babies a year and receives almost $60 million a year in Title X taxpayer dollars. We thank President Trump and Secretary Azar for ensuring that the Title X program is truly about funding family planning, not abortion.”

The family planning rule is part of a series of President Trump administration efforts to remake government policy on reproductive health. Other regulations tangled up in court would allow employers to opt out of offering free birth control to women workers on the basis of religious or moral objections, and grant health care professionals wider leeway to opt out of procedures that offend their religious or moral scruples, according to AP.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.

Under the administration’s rule, clinic staff would still be permitted to discuss abortion with clients, along with other options. However, that would no longer be required, according to AP.

President Trump in his tweet in May expressed his support for Pro Life.

“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions—Rape, Incest, and protecting the Life of the mother—the same position taken by Ronald Reagan. We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new Federal Judges (many more to come), two great new Supreme Court Justices, the Mexico City Policy, and a whole new & positive attitude about the Right to Life. The Radical Left, with late term abortion (and worse), is imploding on this issue. We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020. If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!”

Includes reporting from the Associate Press 

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