Federal Changes to Funding of Family Planning Spark Outrage in NJ

Henrietta Brewer
March 1, 2019

Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that opposes abortion, released a statement regarding Trump's new Title X rules that said, in part: "The Protect Life Rule, which the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld, will prevent organizations like the nation's largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, from funding their abortion activities through the Title X program".

To reduce the potential for "fungibility", the revision requires federally-funded clinics to maintain separate physical spaces for their abortion services, distinct from where they provide other treatments and programs, as well as a separate set of financial ledgers. To address this concern, staff at Title X facilities will no longer be forced to provide pregnancy counseling or discuss what options - including abortion - might be available to the patient; this will still be permitted, but not required. They would also prohibit clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers - a rule that Ferguson said would force many to find new locations, undergo expensive remodels or shut down.

The list would have to include providers who do not offer abortions, and it could not include clinics or organizations that aren't primary care providers, such as Planned Parenthood, Ferguson said.

Sixty-one percent of patients who qualify for Title X funding at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England are people of color, she said.

A federal judge in the Western District of Missouri ruled Friday that Missouri state abortion restrictions were not "undue burdens" and held that a Planned Parenthood (PP) in the state can not resume providing abortions. "The government should not tell patients what medical care is right for them; these sensitive decisions should remain between patients and their medical providers".

Washington state says it will sue to challenge President Donald Trump's policy, setting up new obstacles for women seeking abortions, days after the administration adopted it.

The Office of Population Affairs, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and oversees Title X, published the draft final rule the afternoon of February 22.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced it will sue on behalf of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, which represents publicly funded family planning providers and administrators, as well as the Cedar River Clinics in Washington state. He also blasted the regulation for "transparently and arbitrarily" targeting Planned Parenthood.

The Title X changes - slated to take effect in two months - are created to address several concerns among Trump administration officials, including that the current rules are not sufficient to protect against commingling of the restricted funds and those that can be used for abortion services. So if you are a woman who goes to a health center that receives public funding, you can not be referred to abortion care, even if your life depends on it.

Planned Parenthood and the state of Missouri have been in a legal fight over the restrictions since November 2016, when Planned Parenthood challenged the requirements for ambulatory surgical center licensing and admitting privileges to local hospitals for doctors, AP reports.

In July, Gov. Kate Brown threatened to pull the state out of the Title X program should the rule go into effect. When she was attorney general, Mills joined 18 other states in a lawsuit attempting to block the Title X changes.

Other reports by iNewsToday