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Trump admin delays enforcement of rule slashing Planned Parenthood funding

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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration revealed over the weekend it would delay enforcement of its new rules to ensure Title X dollars don’t go to abortionists, giving abortion-involved facilities more time to comply with the regulations. 

In February, the administration finalized a rule that will require “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning,” ban “referral for abortion as a method of family planning,” eliminate a “requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral,” and require “more complete reporting by grantees about subrecipients and more clarity about informal partnerships with referral agencies.”

The rule is projected to cut almost $60 million from the $563.8 million Planned Parenthood received during the most recent fiscal year, and redirect it to women’s health providers that aren’t involved in abortions. This has provoked intense anger among abortion supporters and lawsuits from 21 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association (AMA).

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the rule could take effect while the case’s merits are litigated, leading the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to announce that the rule would take effect immediately. Over the weekend, however, it sent out notices that HHS “does not intend to bring enforcement actions” right away against facilities making “good-faith efforts to comply,” the Associated Press reports.

Instead, the administration will require facilities to submit a plan for how they intend to comply with the rules in August, demonstrate implementation of most of the new rules by mid-September, and have their health centers and abortion facilities physically separated by March 2020.

The delay appears unlikely to make a long-term difference. Planned Parenthood announced last week it would reject the funds for other services so it can continue committing and referring for abortions, and other abortion providers remain unwilling to attempt to comply.

The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, which represents the affcted organizations and one of the groups suing the administration, called the delay “wholly insufficient,” the AP notes. Kaiser Family Foundation senior vice president and director of women’s health policy Alina Salganicoff told the Washington Post that “at the end of the day, the decisions [of abortion groups] I think are going to remain the same.”

Regardless, there will remain abundant taxpayer funds available both for the abortion industry and for legitimate health providers.

Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report shows the organization not only enjoyed almost a billion dollars in annual private revenue and contributions, but that it will continue to receive over $500 million from taxpayers even without the Title X money. Pro-lifers argue that redirecting Title X money to other providers will more than make up for the cuts, as Federally-Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood locations.

The 9th Circuit will hear arguments and issue a ruling on the merits of the abortion lobby’s case against the HHS rule at a later date.

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