Trump Administration to Reportedly Reinstate Domestic "Gag Rule" on Abortion

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The Trump administration will resurrect a Reagan-era rule that would ban federally-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with women, or sharing space with abortion providers, a senior White House official said Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide whether to review an Arkansas restriction that threatens to close two of the state's three abortion providers and make it the first state to effectively ban medication abortions.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services is reportedly announcing a sweeping change to Title X, the federal grant program that provides urgently needed funds for family planning services to organizations across the country.

"This kind of rule that basically pushes women back in the shadows, doesn't provide them information or health care will only mean that the unintended pregnancy rate will go up", Richards said. And at a time when the president is otherwise embattled on many fronts, he and Republicans who face challenges in the midterm elections are drawing energy from motivated anti-abortion activists. But the people who will be most impacted by the new rule will be women who use Planned Parenthood clinics for routine preventive care, like STD testing, pap smears, and breast exams. More than one-third of low-income women who get birth control through Title X now do so at one of Planned Parenthood's 817 clinics. "So there's a real gap now for women and children in Wisconsin", says Nicole Safar, director of government affairs and legal advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. Title X was enacted in the 1970s to ensure that even low-income women had access to family planning - that is, birth control.

"It's pretty far-reaching, beyond the impact to us at Planned Parenthood", said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of MA.

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A Planned Parenthood center in Chicago, Illinois.

The defense of abortion and reproductive rights is a social question that must be resolved in the arena of the class struggle.

"And what it does... is it will attempt to separate the abortion businesses from the family planning businesses and that's really important because we don't need, as taxpayers, to be subsidizing abortion businesses", Culp said.

"This money will now be redirected to comprehensive family health and planning centers that don't perform abortions and understand that abortion is not health care", March for Life president Jeanne Mancini said in a statement.

"Forcing doctors to keep information from patients about their health options is risky and just plain wrong", the Massachusetts Democrat said. It "will not prohibit counseling for clients about abortion ... but neither will it include the current mandate that (clinics) must counsel and refer for abortion", said the administration's own summary. According to Kaiser Health News, "Planned Parenthood affiliates account for about 13 percent of total Title X sites but serve an estimated 40 percent of its patients".

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But the United States has seen an anti-abortion push since Mr. Trump took office in January previous year, with his Republican Party that opposes abortion controlling Congress.

Jessica Marcella of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, which represents clinics, said requiring physical separation from abortion facilities is impractical and would disrupt services for women. "This rule eliminates that trust", the organization said on Twitter.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a long-time Planned Parenthood defender, told CNN Friday morning that "I think this is an issue that should enrage the American public, particularly women, because it's an attack on them". In particular, HHS's decision to provide waivers to states enabling them to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients will kick tens, and potentially hundreds of thousands of people out of the health care system altogether.

"The Trump administration and the anti-choice extremists he is pandering to with this unsafe rule know that knowledge is power which is why they are directly attacking a woman's right to know exactly what her full range of options are when it comes to an unintended pregnancy", NARAL-Pro Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.

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