Illinois to defy Trump administration's abortion referral 'gag rule'

22 Juillet, 2019, 00:39 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Illinois to defy Trump administration's abortion referral 'gag rule'

IL will defy enforcement of the Trump administration's rule barring federally subsidized family planning clinics from making abortion referrals, the governor said on Thursday, vowing the state would step in to fund most of those clinics itself.

As a new regulation takes effect, barring Title X recipients from making abortion referrals, Planned Parenthood has reportedly made a decision to forego the federal funds in order to continue directing women to abortion.

"President Trump's gag rule undermines women's health care and threatens the providers that millions of women and girls rely on, and we will not let that stand in the state of IL", the first-year governor said in a statement.

Pro-life advocates have praised the regulations as a commonsense way to ensure enforcement of already-existing rules against taxpayer money being used for abortions.

In March, the Trump administration released a final rule that would remove Title X funding programs where abortion is a method, or suggested method, for family planning.

Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said the state would forgo all federal Title X funding while the Trump administration continues to impose its restriction - branded by critics as a "gag rule" created to silence doctor-patient communications about abortion options. Planned Parenthood presently receives about one-fifth of the total amount of Title X funds distributed and serves about 40 percent of all clients who benefit from Title X.

Title X does not pay for abortions, but recipients have in the past been able to refer patients for abortion. I even worked with people who oppose abortion but support Planned Parenthood because of the preventive services we provide - we share the desire to reduce the need for abortion through sex education and birth control. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the rule could be enforced while the lawsuits proceed.

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According to NPR, Planned Parenthood says it will use "emergency funds" to continue to provide abortion referral services.

She said the family planning and women's health clinics that are endangered under the federal rule provide more than just abortion services. The family planning program serves about 4 million women a year, and many low-income women get basic health care from the clinics. It has been frequently updated and subject to new regulations. In part, they don't allow medical professionals who work at clinics that accept Title X grant money to "perform, promote, or support" abortion procedures; mandate there be a "physical and financial separation" between clinics that provide abortion; and promote "family participating in family planning decisions", especially in cases of minors seeking health care.

The announcement came on the same day Planned Parenthood dismissed Dr. Leana Wen as president of the organization over what Wen termed "philosophical differences".

Wen noted that when she was interviewed for the role of president, she asked the search committee whether they viewed the organization primarily as an advocacy organization "with medical services that are necessary to strengthen its impact" or as a health care organization "with advocacy as a necessary vehicle to protect rights and access". Planned Parenthood said its 400 clinics would defy the requirement.

Chicago Democrat Kelly Cassidy, the state representative behind this year's sweeping abortion rights legislation, says she's thrilled with the governor's action.

Wen was appointed head of Planned Parenthood in September 2018, following the 12-year presidency of Cecile Richards. Political organizer Alexis McGill Johnson has been named as acting president.

Four people familiar with the matter told The New York Times the organization's board of directors felt a more aggressive stance was needed to address current moves to roll back abortion access.

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