Activists in the anti-choice movement are ecstatic about the Trump administration’s Friday announcement that it had finalized the language of its restrictions on Title X family planning funds, also known as the “domestic gag rule.”
The anti-choice policy, an apparent attempt to target Planned Parenthood, prohibits providers receiving federal Title X funding from referring patients for abortion services and forces abortion providers under the program to physically separate abortion services from other family planning services. Reproductive rights and health advocates say the policy could potentially devastate the program, which provides access to family planning and reproductive health care to more than 4 million people.
Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), which has worked closely with the Trump administration on anti-choice priorities, called the final rules a “victory” in a press release. “We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement, though the Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding for abortion. “We thank President Trump and Secretary [Alex] Azar for ensuring that the Title X program is truly about funding family planning, not abortion.”
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, called the domestic gag rule “absolutely appropriate” in a statement. “We applaud HHS Secretary Azar and the Trump administration on this move,” she said. Mancini claimed the rule “protects low-income women who rely on Title X assistance because no funds will be cut from the program,” though reproductive health care advocates note that the domestic gag rule would “fundamentally dismantle [the federal family planning] program.”
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Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins used politically charged language in a statement on the finalized rule to dubiously connect abortion services to infanticide. “The radicalized abortion industry as seen in blatant support for virtual infanticide in late-term abortions must be defunded in every program,” said Hawkins. “This is the on-going priority for Students for Life and the Pro-life Generation because we know that our own money is being used against us and future generations.”
“Healthcare dollars should fund real, full-service medical care, not abortion vendors,” Hawkins said.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, suggested the Trump rule was “a major step toward the ultimate goal of ending taxpayers’ forced partnership with the abortion industry.”
In a statement on the Trump administration’s rule, Perkins claimed that “Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers will now have to choose between dropping their abortion services from any location that gets Title X dollars and moving those abortion operations offsite. Either way, this will loosen the group’s hold on tens of millions of tax dollars.”
Perkins, whose organization has been designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, praised the Trump administration for its actions, saying the president “has been persistent in fulfilling his pro-life campaign promises.”
Concerned Women for America called the anti-choice rule “desperately needed” in a blog post and praised the finalized policy for forcing Planned Parenthood to choose between receiving federal family planning funds and providing abortion care. “Thank you President Trump!” the organization added in a tweet.
Live Action, whose discredited videos have often targeted Planned Parenthood, cheered the administration’s rule as “an important victory.”
“We thank President Trump and Secretary Azar for taking steps to ensure that the Title X program does not fund corporations that profit from the pain of women and the deaths of their children,” Live Action President Lila Rose said in a statement. Rose dismissed the federal family planning program as “a slush fund for these human rights abuses.”