A new Trump administration rule on Title X received strong reactions Monday, as news broke of the rule's intention to bar any reproductive health clinic from receiving federal money from performing or referring patients for abortion services.
The rule has drawn strong condemnation from Democratic politicians, who see the rule as an attack on women’s reproductive rights. It has drawn praise from Trump’s conservative and anti-abortion base, which has long rallied behind the “Defund Planned Parenthood” slogan.
Monday was the deadline for recipients to submit statements saying they would comply with the new regulations.
Today, the Trump admin is forcing us out of the Title X program — our nation's program focused on family planning, of which we serve 40% of patients. This is a *direct attack* on Planned Parenthood and on our health and rights, and we will not stand for it. #StandWithPP #ProtectX pic.twitter.com/WRMvzGafNq— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) August 19, 2019
The final rule, which was announced in February 2019, is meant to “ensure that taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions,” according to the administration. This includes both performing abortions and providing referrals to clinics and doctors that do.
While federal funding has always been prohibited to go toward abortion itself, what is new about this rule is that any facility that performs the procedure at all or provides referrals for it is no longer eligible for funding.
What it does not do, however, is restrict recipients of funding from providing “nondirective” counseling to patients on pregnancy and abortion. Rather, it lifts a prior requirement that recipients offer abortion counseling and give referrals, opening the door for some religious organizations who are opposed to abortion to receive grants.
Republicans who back the rule applauded it as a step forward in opposition to abortion, with Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise saying Planned Parenthood is "in the business of abortion, not health care."
Planned Parenthood is clearly revealing itself to be in the business of abortion, not health care. I’m proud to see @realDonaldTrump stand up to Planned Parenthood, and prevent taxpayer funding from subsidizing the abortion industry. https://t.co/9EdF5SPh0b— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) August 20, 2019
South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan said in a tweet "this shouldn’t be controversial! Glad to have @realDonaldTrump who fights for the unborn."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated support for the rule in an op-ed back in February while affirming his commitment to pro-life values, and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst has also released a joint statement with other Republican leaders supporting the rule last year.
Meanwhile, Democrats and some moderate Republicans have reacted strongly against what they are calling a "gag rule."
California Rep. Adam Schiff tweeted on Tuesday that the Trump administration’s rule was “the latest front in the war on health care.”
The Trump Administration is making it harder and more costly for countless women to receive care by going after Planned Parenthood.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 20, 2019
Their new rule will reduce access to birth control, cancer screenings, and reproductive choice.
Only the latest front in the war on health care. https://t.co/A1XvCXdT5g
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the House has passed legislation to block the Trump rule and “the Senate must do the same.”
California Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she will undo the administration’s rule on her first day in office if elected, and former Vice President Joe Biden also looked ahead to a potential presidency in his response.
The Trump Administration’s Title X rule is a direct attack on Planned Parenthood and the crucial services the organization provides. Access to health care could be taken away from millions of women. It’s wrong, and as president I will reverse it. https://t.co/6aOXjvwjMK— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 19, 2019
Others are calling for court action to block the rule. More than 20 states along with organizations, including Planned Parenthood, have already filed challenges to the rule in court.
The Trump administration is deliberately obstructing low-income people’s access to basic health care services & interfering in medical decisions made by patients & their doctors. If the administration won’t #ProtectX, then the courts must. https://t.co/FfTInsUGIa— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) August 19, 2019
Some Republicans have also expressed opposition following the February announcement of the final rule.
"I oppose this misguided rule change that could significantly diminish access for women to crucial contraceptive services, which have been critical in reducing the number of abortions in our country over the past three decades," Maine Sen. Susan Collins told Maine's WCSH. "In fact, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and I wrote to the Trump Administration last summer to express our opposition to this proposal."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump rule restricts family planning funds, politician responses mixed