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Trump administration inches closer to defunding Planned Parenthood

The US Department of Health and Human Services issued its draft...

Posted: Feb 22, 2019 3:51 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2019 5:45 PM

The US Department of Health and Human Services issued its draft final rule to revise the Title X family planning program Friday, jeopardizing a decades-old program that serves millions of low-income people, critics say.

Title X, established in 1970, provides more than $250 million in funding for birth control and other reproductive health care services to approximately 4 million people every year.

Central to opponents' concerns about the rule are provisions that prohibit health care providers who receive federal funding from performing abortions or even referring patients elsewhere for the procedure.

'This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need,' said Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

'This clear attack on family planning care could result in lower-quality care or none at all for people struggling to make ends meet,' added Coleman, whose organization represents publicly funded family planning providers and administrators.

Anti-abortion groups were quick to applaud the development, which would effectively defund Planned Parenthood.

'We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion industry,' said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

'The Protect Life Rule does not cut family planning funding by a single dime, and instead directs tax dollars to entities that provide healthcare to women but do not perform abortions,' Dannenfelser said in a statement. 'The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses.'

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, shot back Friday, calling the rule a 'gag rule' and describing it as 'unconscionable and unethical.'

'This rule compromises the oath that I took to serve patients and help them with making the best decision for their own health. Patients expect their doctors to speak honestly with them, to answer their questions, to help them in their time of need,' she said in a statement. 'Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin. It would never happen. Reproductive health care should be no different.'

The Title X Family Planning Program was instituted during the Nixon administration to provide family planning and related health services. But what constitutes 'family planning' has become a political point of contention.

The law prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. And even though Planned Parenthood insists that the Title X funding it receives is used for the many non-abortion services it provides -- including access to birth control, Pap smears, pregnancy and STD testing -- conservatives have long argued that the organization and reproductive health care centers like it should be cut off from family planning federal funding altogether.

The updates announced Friday will replace rules that have been in place since 2000. They will also replace a 2016 rule that placed restrictions on states and others entities receiving Title X funding. Since May, lawsuits have been filed to try to block these most recent changes.

The changes also include improved transparency by requiring more complete reporting from those receiving funds. In addition, the program will enhance efforts to protect women and children from becoming victims of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest and intimate partner violence, according to Health and Human Services.

Included are 'notable improvements designed to increase the number of patients served and improve the quality of their care,' the agency statement says. 'The updated rule seeks to ensure a holistic and health-centered approach, safeguarding the short- and long-term family planning needs of more women, men, and adolescents in need of services.'

The final rule for Title X will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. And while organizations like the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association are combing through the more than 300-page rule, they say they are also ready to fight and may take legal action.

'If the official published rule is as damaging as today's draft final version,' Coleman said, her group 'will be prepared to challenge the Trump administration to protect the family planning safety net for the millions of people who rely on it.'

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 453808

Reported Deaths: 6131
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin941381495
Ramsey40509748
Dakota33463350
Anoka31283368
Washington20471234
Stearns18051190
St. Louis13916247
Scott1213098
Wright11756107
Olmsted1073975
Sherburne827868
Carver703139
Clay657684
Rice621170
Kandiyohi556772
Blue Earth546833
Crow Wing489178
Otter Tail463167
Chisago458138
Benton423288
Winona394248
Douglas378466
Nobles374447
Mower372129
Goodhue355362
Polk330660
McLeod327947
Beltrami315048
Morrison314145
Lyon304738
Becker288839
Itasca287143
Isanti284842
Carlton283543
Steele278510
Pine269614
Freeborn253623
Todd233130
Nicollet227938
Brown217434
Mille Lacs215045
Le Sueur213516
Cass210524
Meeker201233
Waseca192816
Wabasha17413
Martin171726
Roseau166317
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Renville138040
Chippewa132332
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Fillmore12646
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Rock111912
Aitkin111233
Sibley10947
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Murray9096
Jackson87310
Swift84418
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Marshall70315
Clearwater68714
Lake66315
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Lincoln4892
Big Stone4693
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Norman4258
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Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 310915

Reported Deaths: 4432
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46760465
Linn18037279
Scott15838172
Black Hawk14076243
Woodbury13111181
Johnson1228552
Dubuque11615159
Pottawattamie9146115
Dallas907772
Story879438
Cerro Gordo472572
Webster472077
Sioux459657
Warren458039
Clinton457768
Marshall430762
Buena Vista396230
Muscatine395878
Des Moines394943
Plymouth352870
Wapello349898
Jasper331659
Lee324132
Marion308953
Jones274650
Henry267331
Carroll258234
Bremer249848
Crawford234324
Washington222933
Boone222717
Benton213050
Mahaska197637
Jackson194932
Tama190159
Dickinson188329
Kossuth178544
Delaware176036
Clay172021
Wright166624
Fayette165924
Hamilton162230
Buchanan162024
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158162
Hardin156931
Cedar155519
Clayton153849
Butler150924
Page146415
Floyd141436
Cherokee140027
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek134924
Hancock131524
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123610
Calhoun12349
Grundy122528
Jefferson122125
Winnebago121729
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass114843
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112440
Sac112015
Emmet111232
Union111023
Humboldt106619
Shelby105427
Guthrie104224
Franklin103318
Unassigned10110
Palo Alto91711
Montgomery88324
Keokuk86326
Howard85519
Monroe82220
Clarke8108
Pocahontas78111
Ida75930
Davis70121
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona67018
Lucas66610
Osceola64711
Worth6184
Taylor5999
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Van Buren50215
Decatur4964
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Wayne41921
Adams2993
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