Washington D.C., Feb 27, 2019 / 07:00 pm (CNA) – The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ conference pro-life committee praised Wednesday a new federal rule that will prohibit abortion clinics from receiving federal funding aimed at subsidizing some medical services for low-income women and families. The rule is expected to strip Planned Parenthood of about $60 million in federal funds.
“I applaud the Trump Administration for reaffirming that abortion is not family planning. Abortion ends the lives of families’ most vulnerable members, as well as damaging the spiritual, mental and physical health of mothers,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann in a Feb. 27 statement.
“Although the USCCB continues to have strong objections to government promotion and funding of contraceptives, we have long supported enforcement of the abortion funding restrictions in Title X, and we are pleased to see that the Administration has taken seriously its obligation to enforce those restrictions.” The “Protect Life Rule,” amending rules for federal Title X funds, was announced in a Feb. 22 press release from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Title X is a federal program created in 1965 that subsidizes family-planning and preventative health services, including contraception, for low-income families. It has been frequently updated and subject to new regulations. While the program has not directly funded abortion, critics have complained that abortion providers who received Title X funding did not adequately distinguish between
Among other provisions, the Protect Life Rule requires that there be a physical and financial separation between recipients of Title X funds and facilities that perform abortions. Clinics that provide “nondirective counseling” about abortion can still receive funds.
Previous regulations, written during Bill Clinton’s presidency, not only allowed for health clinics that were co-located with abortion clinics to receive funds, but also required that Title X recipients refer patients for abortions.
“We are also grateful that this rule eliminates the requirement that doctors in Title X clinics refer and counsel for abortion, which previously ensured that all Title X clinics and staff had a close connection with abortion,” Naumann said.
Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, was elected to chair the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee in November 2017.