Politics

Title X Funding Change Over Abortion Is ‘Domestic Gag Rule,’ Pelosi Says

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Kerry Picket Political Reporter

Leaders on both sides of the aisle appear ready to battle one another over the Trump administration’s move to change Title X funding Friday.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule mandating that Title X funds cannot be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the move a “domestic gag rule” and “strikes a staggering blow to women’s basic health rights.”

Pelosi went on to say, “This outrageous assault on the health care of vulnerable and under-served women and families would choke off their access to affordable contraception, critical health information and preventive health care, gravely undermining the health and strength of America.”

The California Democrat argues that Title X is the “only federal grant initiative dedicated to providing family planning services to low-income and otherwise under-served individuals.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, however, applauded the administration, saying in a statement Friday night, “Since President Trump took office, we have made great strides toward defending the sanctity of life. With today’s decision by the Trump administration, we are finally starting to see the end to federally-funded taxpayer abortions.”

Scalise continued, “The Title X Program was never intended to subsidize abortion providers. During the Clinton administration, this program was distorted and Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers started receiving millions of taxpayer dollars.”

An anti-abortion marcher carries a sign calling for the organisation Planned Parenthood to loose funding, during in the 46th annual March for Life at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The abortion debate in Washington, DC has been amped up since late-term abortion bills in state legislatures have either been at least considered or passed. Republicans in the House have called for a bill that bans late-term abortions to be brought to the floor, and Senate Republicans have placed a similar demand on Democrats in the upper chamber, as getting to a final vote requires 60 votes. (RELATED: Va Considering Bill Legalizing Abortion Until 40 Weeks In Pregnancy)

Activist organizations on both sides of the abortion debate immediately released their own statements as well.

“Title X explicitly states that no Title X funds ‘shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,’” Americans United for Life said of the new HHS rule. “The final rule requires physical and financial separation of Title X projects and the provision and promotion of abortion.”

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, an organization that could be most affected by the new HHS rule responded on Friday, “The administration has put health care providers like Planned Parenthood in an impossible position: withhold information from patients or get pushed out of a program designed to ensure that people struggling to make ends meet can still access birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, and other essential reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood serves 41 percent (1.6 million) of the 4 million people in the Title X program; this rule leaves their health, rights, and lives hanging in the balance.”

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