The Trump administration announced on Monday that a ban on abortion referrals at taxpayer-funded family planning clinics will take effect immediately. Clinics receiving family planning grants to provide contraception and other services to low-income women will have to stop providing abortion referrals or lose their federal funding, The Hill reported.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, quickly said it would not comply with the ban.
The Department of Health and Human Services told family planning providers it will begin enforcing the ban on abortion referrals, along with a requirement that family planning clinics be financially separate from facilities that provide abortions. An additional requirement that family planning services and abortion services cannot be performed in the same place won’t take effect until next year.
The federal family planning program, called Title X, serves about 4 million women through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 40 percent of these women, ABC News reported. Because of the new rules, Planned Parenthood stands to lose about $60 million a year.
Last month, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, rejected a plea by Planned Parenthood, along with 20 states and the District of Columbia, to invalidate the ban. On July 11, an 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld last month’s ruling. Some observers believe the case might eventually end up at the Supreme Court as the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is challenged.
While many conservatives and pro-life advocates praised the decision, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers protested the enforcement of what they term a “gag rule.”
In a separate development, Planned Parenthood dumped its president, Leana Wen, the day following the announcement—just eight months after appointing her.
The night before the White House’s announcement, Wen had said in a statement: “While we are incredibly concerned by this harmful rule, our doors are still open.
Wen then tweeted on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood’s Board terminated her employment during a “secret meeting.”
“I am leaving the organization sooner than I’d hoped because of philosophical differences about the direction and future of Planned Parenthood,” she later said in a posted letter to Planned Parenthood officials. But “the new board leadership has determined that the priority of Planned Parenthood moving forward is to double down on abortion rights advocacy.”
“It sounds like there’s been a huge shake-up at abortion-provider, Planned Parenthood,” Franklin Graham said on Facebook. “As Christians, we can also double down—IN PRAYER! Pray that our legislators will end the funding of Planned Parenthood and ultimately put an end to the loss of life through abortion.”