Trump's new domestic gag rule harms pro-choice movement in two huge ways
The Trump administration announced that it will block federal family planning funding from organizations that provide abortion referrals to women. Because of the rule, Planned Parenthood, a non-profit women’s health organization that provides care for 1.6 million people, is at risk of losing federal funding. That money could go to what experts call "fake crisis pregnancy centers."
The trump administration announced on Friday that it will block federal family planning funding to organizations that provide abortion. Planned parenthood, a non-profit women’s health organization that provides care for 1.6 million people, is at risk of losing federal funding due to the decision. Jody Strait has more.
Jody Strait: A domestic gag rule — that’s what one pro-choice activist called the Trump administration’s latest move to block abortion access to women around the country. The new federal rule threatens to pull Title X family planning funding from organizations that offer abortion referrals in addition to other medical services.
The rule also eliminates the requirement for funding recipients to counsel women on all their reproductive choices, making anti-abortion clinics eligible.
Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women says she’s not surprised, but she is shocked by just how far the rule goes.
Tony Van Pelt: They did this for two reasons. One was to harm planned parenthood and the really fabulous work that they’re doing for women’s healthcare, so that’s hugely important. This is the place women go for breast exams, pap smears, birth control, abortion care, pregnancy care, prenatal care at low costs to women who cannot afford to pay higher rate.
And, secondly, it’s very harmful for women because the plan is to fund fake pregnancy crisis centers in this country, and that’s just as detrimental to women as defunding Planned Parenthood because women are duped and lied to by people who are not medical professionals who pretend that they are.
Jody Strait: Anti-choice activists hailed Trump’s “Protect Life Rule,” as it’s formerly titled. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins called it “a major step toward the ultimate goal of ending taxpayers’ forced partnership with the abortion industry” despite that no funding from Title X has ever directly paid for an abortion since its inception in 1970.
Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million per year, which anti-choice activists say frees up other non-governmental funds they receive for their abortion services. Terry O’Neill, former president of the National Organization for Women, says there are two critical steps to opposing the new rule.
Terry O’Neill: Vote them out. This is not just the Trump administration. This is every Republican Senator who fails to take women’s healthcare seriously, vote them out of office. In the shorter term — that’s in the medium term — in the shorter term, um, everyone whose got two nickels to rub together, go give it to planned parenthood right now.
Planned Parenthood is an amazing provider of women’s reproductive healthcare. They are not afraid of the bullies in Congress or the bullies in the White House that want to force doctors to lie to women about their health. They deserve our support. Go support them.
Jody Strait: The debate over abortion continues. Deep beliefs over whether or not a fetus is a child, and whether abortion is murder or a medical procedure, divides those on either side of a women’s right to choose. Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, interim president & CEO of the National Abortion Federation*, says anti abortion activists are applying their personal opinion rather than scientific evidence to public policy.
Rery Reverend Katherine Ragsdale: The whole notion of fetus as a child was a communications coup by anti-choice movement. It’s certainly nothing that’s supported by science, religion, or tradition. They’re certainly entitled to feel a fetus is the moral equivalence of a child. If that’s the conclusion that they draw, they’re certainly entitled to that. And they’re entitled to act upon it. Don’t have an abortion.
But to impose an unscientific, unmedically substantiated opinion on everyone else is antithetical to our constitutional protections, our sense of democracy, and our sense of human rights.
Jody Strait: The Trump administration’s protect life rule also require funding recipients that perform abortions to do so at a separate facility from where their primary services are offered. The rule is likely to be challenged in court, though a more extreme rule was upheld by the supreme court in 1991.
For KPFA Radio in Berkeley, this is Jody Strait.
Glenn Reeder: And we’re in a fund drive right now, and we’d like to ask you to do the right thing and support the Bay Area’s only truly independent media outlet, KPFA. No commercials or underwritings here, which we believe influences what you here on a newscast, as well as other programming. Help us keep our fund drive short by donating what you can afford today Our phone room is closed right now, but you can pledge securely right now at kpfa.org.
*The National Abortion Federation provides abortion referrals free of charge at their website. The professional association of abortion providers is not a recipient of federal funding and is not threatened by the new rule.