The Trump administration has officially finalized a federal rule barring Title X funds from being used to support abortion, in a move celebrated by pro-life activist groups.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that the new rule was finalized, forbidding “the use of Title X funds to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”
“Pursuant to Congressional mandate, family participation is to be encouraged, particularly in services involving adolescents. And, from the start, Congress was clear that Title X funds cannot be used to support abortion,” stated HHS.
“This final rule ensures that grants and contracts awarded under this program fully comply with the statutory program integrity requirements, thereby fulfilling the purpose of Title X, so that more women and men can receive services that help them consider and achieve both their short-term and long-term family planning needs.”
HHS’ final rule also ends the requirement for an abortion referral for family planning, no longer mandates counseling on abortion, and removes the requirement for Title X providers to counsel on and refer for abortion.
“Consistent with the statutory requirement that no funds may be expended where abortion is a method of family planning, this regulation no longer requires, and affirmatively prohibits, referral for abortion as a method of family planning,” continued HHS.
Groups like the Family Research Council celebrated the finalized rule, with FRC President Tony Perkins calling it a “major step toward the ultimate goal of ending taxpayers’ forced partnership with the abortion industry.”
“The finalized ‘protect life rule’ draws a bright line between abortion and family planning programs — just as the federal law requires and the Supreme Court has upheld,” stated Perkins on Friday.
The National Right to Life released a statement on its Facebook page in support of the new rule, noting that despite “pro-abortion distortions, the rule does not cut family planning funding.”
“It merely ensures that health facilities receiving Title X funds do not perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning,” stated the organization. “We thank the Trump Administration for continuing to restore pro-life policies.”
Pro-choice groups, like Planned Parenthood leader Dr. Leana Wen, denounced the new rule, taking to Twitter on Friday to claim that the removal of abortion funding was discriminatory.
“The Trump-Pence administration knows what it’s doing. In a country where racism and discrimination have caused rampant inequities and disparities, an attack on Title X – a program for patients with low incomes – is an attack on poor women and people of color,” tweeted Wen.
But March for Life President Jeanne Mancini maintained that the new rule "protects low-income women who rely on Title X assistance because no funds will be cut from the program."
"In fact, those women in need will receive services at federally qualified health centers which outnumber abortion centers 20:1," said Mancini, who argued that abortion is not healthcare. "At FQHC’s women benefit from better regulatory oversight, a wider range of services, and more life-affirming options. The new Title X regulations are a win-win for all Americans."