Trump targets Planned Parenthood abortion services with new rule
This could turn out to be a significant rule if it survives court challenges.
The Trump administration will propose a rule that would significantly impact abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood. The rule would ban PP and other abortion providers from providing "related services" like "women's health services" under the same roof.
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. ...
The proposed rule change – to be delivered from the Health and Human Services Department to the Office of Management and Budget – 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.
It was always a sham that Planned Parenthood was able to offer abortion services using "private" money. In fact, federal funding makes it a lot easier for the group to perform abortions, given that the infrastructure for both women's health concerns and abortion is usually under the same roof.
One would expect that Planned Parenthood will challenge this rule in court, given that it will force the company to virtually stop offering abortion services or move its abortion operations elsewhere. One argument Planned Parenthood may use is that the rule unfairly restricts abortion access for poor women. It's the same argument being used in states that have put severe restrictions on abortion in recent years.
This is a smart political stroke that could energize evangelicals and other pro-life Republicans to vote in November.