WASHINGTON (LifeSiteNews) — The Biden administration moved this week to rescind a Trump-era rule excluding the abortion industry from federal family planning funds, winning the thanks of abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
Former President Donald Trump’s Protect Life Rule required “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning,” and banned “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.” It reduced Planned Parenthood’s annual funding by almost $60 million.
In his first month in office, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum “direct[ing] the Department of Health and Human Services to take immediate action to consider whether to rescind regulations under its Title X family planning program,” as part of a broader executive action dismantling pro-life limits on how taxpayer dollars could be spent.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) formally announced the final regulation undoing the rule, The Hill reports.
“Our nation’s family planning clinics play a critical role in delivering health care, and today more than ever, we are making clear that access to quality family planning care includes accurate information and referrals — based on a patient’s needs and direction,” Biden HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra declared.
The news follows the administration’s move last month to direct additional funding to Texas abortion centers affected by the state’s ban on aborting babies with heartbeats, as well as award up to $10 million in grants to abortion facilities elsewhere that are receiving more clients due to the law.
“We thank the Biden-Harris administration for swiftly ending the harmful policy and prioritizing access to sexual and reproductive health care,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America CEO Alexis McGill Johnson.
Notably, the new Biden rule returns Title X abortion rules to the pre-Trump status quo rather than creating all-new benefits for the abortion industry, leading Johnson to complain that it “will allow providers to refuse to counsel or refer patients for abortions due to their own personal beliefs.”
The Biden administration is not likely to be content with that status quo for long, however.
Biden supports Democrat legislation to not only codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, but expand it to forbid states from subjecting abortion to ultrasound requirements, mandatory waiting periods, informed-consent requirements, and other health and safety regulations, such as admitting privileges; as well as protect so-called “webcam” abortions (i.e., dispensing abortion pills without an in-person doctor’s visit), forbid banning abortions on the basis of a baby’s race, sex, or disability, and forbid banning particular techniques such as dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, better known as “dismemberment” abortions because they entail literally ripping unborn babies apart in the womb, then removing them from the uterus limb by limb.
While that legislation currently cannot make it through the evenly-divided U.S. Senate, the administration’s approval of it illustrates the White House’s view of abortion limits and pro-life Americans’ right to disagree on the issue, just as Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate illustrates his view of Americans’ conscience rights.