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Trump Administration Will Deny Federal Funds to Clinics That Discuss Abortion

The Trump administration is set to resurrect a former President Ronald Reagan rule on Friday that would deny federal funding to clinics that discuss abortion with patients or sharing space with abortion providers.

The Department of Health and Human Services will announce its plan today, the Associated Press reports.

The Department of Health and Human Services will announce its proposal Friday, a senior White House official said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to confirm the plans before the announcement.

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The Reagan-era rule never went into effect as written, although the Supreme Court ruled that it was an appropriate use of executive power. The policy was rescinded under President Bill Clinton, and a new rule went into effect that required "nondirective" counseling to include a range of options for women.

Abortion groups are opposed to the rule. Jessica Marcella of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), which represents family planning clinics, said the new rule requires providers unjustly withhold information from patients.

"The notion that you would withhold information from a patient does not uphold or preserve their dignity," Marcella said. "I cannot imagine a scenario in which public health groups would allow this effort to go unchallenged."

In addition to the Reagan-era rule, abortion groups have been fighting the Trump administration on changes to Title X rules. Title X is the nation’s family planning program estimated to help about four million women a year at a cost of about $260 million. The program's grants are administered to a variety of community centers, schools, and family planning facilities–including Planned Parenthood centers–across the country.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed separate lawsuits against the Trump administration over changes to Title X rules to obtain the family planning grants. The Trump administration seeks to implement new criteria to require organizations promote "activities for adolescents that do not normalize sexual risk behaviors, but instead clearly communicate the research informed benefits of delaying sex or returning to a sexually risk-free status."

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the new criteria for obtaining Title X grant money in February, and both lawsuits allege the new criteria unlawfully favor anti-abortion and pro-abstinence organizations. Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit represents three affiliates in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Utah, while the ACLU filed suit on behalf of NFPRHA.

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