The Trump administration is proposing a rule that will strike at the heart of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
The rule will effectively ban PP and other abortion providers from offering federally funded family planning services in the same facility where abortions are performed.
The so-called Hyde amendment prohibits the use of competitive federal family-planning grant funds for abortion, but organizations like Planned Parenthood have traditionally used the federal money for other health services while using private money for abortions and related services — sometimes at the same facilities and with the same staff.
Based on a Reagan-era regulation and championed by abortion-rights opponents, the new rule would force entities that receive so-called Title X family-planning funding to maintain physical and financial separation between taxpayer-backed operations and any related facilities that perform abortions, support the procedures or receive referrals about them, the official said.
So ends the fiction that Planned Parenthood doesn’t use federal money for abortions. The taxpayer money funds infrastructure that is shared by both family planning services and abortion. The rule, if it holds up in court, will end that.
“We thank President Trump for taking action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that provides political support for candidates who oppose abortion. “This is a major victory which will energize the grass roots as we head into the critical midterm elections.
The proposed rule change — which was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget by the Health and Human Services Department Friday morning — will drop a requirement that Title X grant recipients provide abortion counseling to patients. But it will stop short of giving abortion foes one provision they sought: a gag rule prohibiting recipients from discussing abortion with pregnant women.
There is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth that Trump wants to impose the “gag rule” on PP and other abortion providers. This is an exaggeration and typical of the pro-abortion faction’s response to this rule. The abortion services side of the business can still counsel patients about abortion options. The change is that taxpayer money will not go to such counseling services.
How this “restricts women’s health” is beyond me.
The political implications of the rule are, of course, huge, but it would be a mistake to think the rule was issued for purely political purposes. There is a moral case to be made that taxpayers should not be forced to have anything to do with a procedure so many see as murder. This is not a “fringe” position. The latest Pew survey from last year found that 40% of Americans think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. All the more reason to prevent tax dollars from funding the practice.