"Pro-Choice Clinic Escort" by Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump Administration Releases Final Text of Domestic ‘Gag Rule’ Restriction on Title X

Feb 25, 2019

By Katelyn Burns

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final version of its new regulations for Title X programs, which will ban federal family planning funds from going to health providers who perform or refer patients for abortion services. This amounts to a domestic “gag rule,” reproductive rights advocates say.

The updated rule, posted online by HHS on Friday, still needs to be officially published in the Federal Register.

The gag rule, first proposed in May, limits patients’ access to medically accurate family planning information by banning abortion referrals and forces abortion providers to physically and financially separate abortion services from family planning services in order to receive Title X funding. The move is an apparent attempt to make good on President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “defund Planned Parenthood,” which serves 41 percent of Title X patients.

Reproductive health and rights advocates warn that the domestic gag rule could serve as a critical roadblock in access to care for Title X patients. “This rule will block doctors across the country from referring Title X patients for safe, legal abortion,” Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, told Rewire.News in a statement. “It will block patients from getting birth control at places like Planned Parenthood, and it will prohibit doctors from being able to provide full and accurate information to their patients. There are 4 million people across the country who rely on Title X to access critical health care like birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment—and more than 1.6 million seek that care at Planned Parenthood.”

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