Chris Lieberman, FISM News
The Biden administration announced Monday that they are reversing a Trump-era ban on family planning clinics referring patients to abortion providers.
Under the Trump administration’s 2019 rule, family planning clinics that referred patients to abortions had to forfeit their Title X funding. Nearly 1,000 clinics – about one-fourth of those who received Title X funding – dropped out of the program in 2019 in response to the new rule. Now with the Biden Administration’s return to Obama-era policy, many of these clinics will likely return.
“This rule is a step forward for family planning care as it aims to strengthen and restore our nation’s Title X program,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “Our nation’s family planning clinics play a critical role in delivering health care, and today more than ever, we are making clear that access to quality family planning care includes accurate information and referrals—based on a patient’s needs and direction.”
Title X funding provides $250 million per year in taxpayer money to clinics that offer birth control and other services primarily to low-income women in minority communities. In 2020, the HHS reported that family planning clinics in the program saw a 63% decline in patients between 2018 and 2020. The decline was attributed to the Trump-era rule.
Supporters of Trump’s policy argue that it prevented taxpayer funding of abortions, which is against federal law due to the Hyde Amendment. While Title X funds have never been allowed to be used directly for abortions, pro-life advocates argue that by funding organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the government was indirectly subsidizing abortions.
Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson came out in support of the Biden administration’s move to reverse the policy, saying, “We thank the Biden-Harris administration for swiftly ending the harmful policy and prioritizing access to sexual and reproductive health care.”
However, Johnson criticized the provision that wouldn’t force those who are personally opposed to abortion to refer someone to an infanticide procedure. She said, “Given the attacks on abortion in Texas and across the country, it’s more important than ever that patients can access their choice of birth control and other health care through Title X — and that it is easily available. That’s why it’s disappointing the final rule will allow providers to refuse to counsel or refer patients for abortions due to their own personal beliefs.”
The pro-life movement was quick to condemn the new policy. In a press release, Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life relayed that taxpayers should never be forced to be complicit in the murder of unborn children:
Taxpayer funds should not be used to subsidize an industry that preys on women and their unborn children. The vast majority of Americans believe that using taxpayer funds to pay for abortion is wrong. Supplementing the abortion industry through taxpayer funds is offensive to tens of millions of Americans. Far from uniting this nation, the Biden administration has done everything it can to divide it by facilitating abortion on demand.”