The Trump administration has issued the anticipated rule shutting off family planning money to agencies that also provide abortion — a blow aimed particularly at Planned Parenthood.

The rule will be challenged in court.

Advertisement

A similar issue is already in court from Arkansas and other states that cut off Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood because they also provide abortion. In Arkansas, the group provides only medication abortion in the first weeks of pregnancy, not clinical abortions.

Judge Kristine Baker enjoined the Arkansas cutoff, but the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals lifted that injunction saying it was issued on a point of law that didn’t apply. That suit has been put on hold as other cases wind to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Advertisement

Legal intricacies aside, this is simple. The Trump has gone all in with the anti-abortion forces. The move will not only cut off money to Planned Parenthood and others, but also potentially lead to a reduction in family planning generally. Religious groups that try to discourage people from abortion frequently hold beliefs in opposition to contraception as well.

Fact: Poor sex education and lack of ready availability of family planning services lead to unwanted pregnancies and abortions, illegal ones in desperate cases.

Advertisement

The Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, president of the National Abortion Federation, issued a statement:

We believe that all forms of reproductive health care, including abortion care, should not only be legal, but also safe and accessible. Any attempt to reduce access to comprehensive reproductive health care simply to score political points with anti-abortion extremists is unacceptable.

The Department of Health and Human Services has previously tried to justify these changes to Title X as a step toward closing “gaps in service,” when the changes do the opposite. The Proposed Rule would erect undue barriers to providing and accessing comprehensive reproductive health care, creating even larger gaps in service—especially for low income women, women of color, and the LGBTQ community.

It is unfathomable that anyone would want to prevent health care providers from giving their patients referrals to other safe, quality health care providers. This is another clear sign that President Trump and his administration would rather bow to anti-abortion extremists than ensure people in America have access to the quality health care they need.