Fulfilling yet another campaign promise especially meant for the conservative political base, the Trump administration decisively acted on Friday to prevent taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions.
The Health and Human Services Department sent its proposal to rewrite the rules to the White House. An administration overview of the plan stated that it would echo a Reagan-era rule by banning abortion referrals by federally funded clinics and forbidding them from locating in facilities that also provide abortions.
Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that this means that the Trump administration is simply recognizing that “abortion is not family planning. This is family planning money.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also said in a statement: “the policy would ensure that taxpayers do not directly fund abortions.”
As expected, the White House move was met with criticisms and opposition by advocates of Planned Parenthood and liberals. Planned Parenthood, a principal provider of family planning, abortion services ad basic preventive care for women said it will affect their services. Its executive vice president Dawn Laguens said: “The end result would make it impossible for women to come to Planned Parenthood, who are counting on us everyday.”
Abortion rights advocates also argued that the move is tantamount to a “gag order”, which the Trump administration quickly refuted clarifying that “counseling about abortion would be ok”, but not referrals.
President Trump is also scheduled to speak at the Susan B. Anthony List’s “campaign for life” gala. The group is involved in campaigns to help elect candidates who are committed to reducing, and ultimately ending abortion.
In 2016, the group spent above $18 million in the 2016 election cycle to defeat Hillary Clinton and promote a “pro-life Senate.”’