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HHS unveils policy blocking Title X funds to abortion providers, referrers

By Sam Howard
HHS unveils policy blocking Title X funds to abortion providers, referrers
Planned Parenthood, which says it serves hundreds of thousands of people through the Title X program, condemned the new policy from the Department of Health and Human Services. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The federal government will cut off some funds to family planning providers that offer abortions or refer women for abortions under an action from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The plan, similar to a policy suggested by President Donald Trump in May, prevents Title X funding from being sent to family planning facilities that either offer abortions or refer patients for the procedure, The Hill reported.

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The department said in a news release it would require "clear financial and physical separation" between Title X-compliant facilities and those that provide abortions or abortion referrals.

A proposal for the changes was first published in the Federal Register on June 1. During a subsequent 60-day comment period, the department said it received more than 500,000 public comments.

It would also prevent employees at these Title X family planning centers, such as Planned Parenthood, from telling women where they can obtain an abortion, The New York Times reported.

Planned Parenthood, which says it serves 41 percent of the 4 million people who benefit annually from Title X, called it a "gag rule."

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"The gag rule is unconscionable and unethical," Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen said in a statement. "This rule compromises the oath that I took to serve patients and help them with making the best decision for their own health. Patients expect their doctors to speak honestly with them, to answer their questions, to help them in their time of need."

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