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Trump Administration to Tie Health Facilities’ Funding to Abortion Restrictions

Mr. Trump has also taken particular aim at Planned Parenthood, which serves 41 percent of women who receive federally funded family planning services. He signed legislation last year aimed at cutting off government money from the group and others that perform abortions.

The bill nullified a rule completed in the last days of the Obama administration that effectively banned state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services related to contraception, sexually transmitted infections, fertility, pregnancy care and breast and cervical cancer screening from qualified health providers — regardless of whether they also performed abortions.

Doctors have also expressed alarm at the prospect of such changes to federal family planning rules. In a conference call this month, officials from the American College of Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the policy would harm women’s health.

Dr. Hal Lawrence, the executive vice president and chief executive of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said during that call, “We don’t need the government interfering in the exam room, and the government should not be interfering in what women can know and what kind of options she should be given.”

Abortion rights advocates also argue that the new rules could result in women not receiving reproductive health care at all, leading to more unintended pregnancies and higher mortality rates. They note that Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform abortions are often the only federally funded health care providers in certain areas of the country, meaning that some women in those places may simply not receive medical care at all under the new policy.

Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood, wrote in her memoir published last month that during a meeting in January 2017 with Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a senior adviser to the president, the couple offered her a deal for her organization: Stop providing abortions in exchange for receiving an increase in federal money. Mr. Trump acknowledged a few weeks later that he had pushed for such an agreement.

At the time, Planned Parenthood publicly rejected the proposal out of hand, saying it would never agree to a plan that would compel it to stop offering or advising women about abortions.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/us/politics/trump-funding-abortion-restrictions.html