'Gag rule' would hurt poor women's health care

Lester Mason
May 23, 2018

While Trump seeks to deny women's health care services, the US maternal mortality rate has increased by more than 50 percent since 1990, placing the nation in the company of some of the world's poorest nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, released a statement that said the rule is an attempt to cripple the organization's ability to care for their patients in the most basic way. The administration drastically expanded a global gag rule past year, banning USA global health assistance to any nongovernmental organization overseas that discusses abortion with patients or engages in any advocacy or public education related to abortion. Meanwhile, more than 200 congressional members sent a May 15 letter opposing such a rule. Requiring grant recipients to keep family planning programs and abortion-related services financially separate ensures that Title X funds are used appropriately.

Tuesday night, Trump is scheduled to speak at the Susan B. Anthony List's "campaign for life" gala. Cutting off funding has been the top priority for anti-abortion groups, which supported candidate Trump.

Under the current program, clinics must counsel patients on their options after receiving a positive pregnancy test, which includes abortion, adoption or keeping the baby.

The proposed rules are based on Reagan-era policy that survived years of court challenges but never went into effect. President Trump and his administration, meanwhile, have reinstated and issued regulations to restrict federal funding of abortion and abortion rights organizations.

Known as Title X, the family-planning program serves about 4 million women a year through clinics, costing taxpayers about $260 million.

Meantime, abortions have declined significantly.

The exact wording of the question asked was, "President Reagan instituted a policy that taxpayer funds could only go to family planning clinics that do not perform or refer for abortions".

"We thank President Trump for keeping his promise to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business". The Supreme Court said that women have the right to choose to end a pregnancy and doctors are not prevented from performing abortions, which they do safely and humanely. "That should alarm anyone who ever wanted to know the facts about their own healthcare or feel the doctor-patient relationship is sacred and should be protected", she said. I think the most important thing is this is an attack on basic rights.

The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy websites] filed suit earlier this month challenging the proposed cut to Title X funding. We can not allow free speech to be protected everywhere except in women's health clinics.

But abortion opponents said Trump is merely reaffirming the core mission of the family planning program.

After a mandatory 60-day public comment period, organizations that accept Title X funding will have 60 additional days to comply by separating their finances into abortion-related funds and non-abortion funds.

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said, "Abortion is not health care or birth control and many women want natural health care choices, rather than hormone-induced changes".

The administration's proposed rule would require facilities to maintain a physical separation between abortion services and Title X-funded services, and a separate staff for each. That language has been left out of the restrictions unveiled by the Trump administration.

The administration says counseling about an abortion would be OK, but referrals would not.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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