The Trump administration proposed the "Protect Life" Rule Friday which would bar entities that receive federal funding for family planning from providing or referring for abortions. Abortion counseling is no longer required for grant recipients under the proposed rule, but it is not prohibited.
Even though Title X funding recipients can still discuss and counsel abortion with patients under the rule, Democratic lawmakers, along with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, have dubbed it a domestic “gag rule” and claim it will silence doctors.
The Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus inaccurately claimed in a statement that the proposed rule prevents providers receiving Title X funding from "referring or even talking about abortion."
This is a code red: the Trump-Pence admin is pursuing the most extreme effort to roll back women’s healthcare in decades. Gutting #TitleX is a blatant attempt to muzzle doctors & deny women their constitutional rights. My colleagues & I won’t stand for it. Read our statement ?? pic.twitter.com/JiqeKGLhy9— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) May 18, 2018
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who signed a letter urging the HHS not to enact the rule, tweeted Friday that the rule “will stop Title X doctors from even talking to their patients about abortion-related services.”
Title X provides birth control, cancer screenings & HIV tests to over 4M Americans. It doesn’t fund abortions & never has. But today, @realdonaldtrump will issue a “gag” rule that will stop Title X doctors from even talking to their patients about abortion-related services. https://t.co/3LFHjd4Yli— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) May 18, 2018
Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion advocacy group NARAL, said Friday that the Trump administration is “directly attacking a woman’s right to know exactly what her full range of options are when it comes to an unintended pregnancy,” despite the fact that doctors can still discuss abortion under the proposal.
“The idea that the government should instruct doctors about what they can or cannot say to their patients—a relationship Americans hold sacred—should send shivers down the spine of everyone who ever wanted to know the facts and the truth about their own healthcare,” she added.
Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement that “everyone has the right to information about their health care — including information about safe, legal abortion, and every woman deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. No matter what. They won’t get it under this rule.”
White House officials said Friday that the goal of the new regulation is to separate family planning services from abortion. They argue the new regulations are a "prohibition of abortion as a method of family planning.”
The administration has also emphasized that the rule will simply redirect funds away from abortion providers, but not reduce the overall amount spent on family planning.