Trump to deny funds to clinics that discuss abortion

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Trump also reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which states that foreign non-governmental organizations may not receive federal funding if they perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning.

The rule would also prohibit the clinics from sharing space with abortion providers, a senior White House official told the Associated Press Thursday. However, it's guaranteed to galvanize activists on both sides of the abortion debate ahead of the congressional midterm elections.

The rule, first proposed during the Reagan era, was hit by legal challenges from Planned Parenthood and other groups and never fully implemented. Doctors' groups and abortion rights supporters say a ban on counseling women trespasses on the doctor-patient relationship.

It will not decrease the amount of Title X funding, which annually provides $260 million for family planning purposes, including contraception, pregnancy testing, and infertility treatments.

Abortion opponents say a taxpayer-funded family planning program should have no connection whatsoever to abortion.

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"This "gag rule" is not only unconscionable, but it undermines medical ethics by forcing health care professionals to withhold accurate and timely medical information from patients", Dr. Jenn Conti, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, said in a statement Thursday. However, it would be required to separate abortion from its services in order to continue receiving Title X funds.

But Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said, "Abortion is not health care or birth control and many women want natural health care choices, rather than hormone-induced changes".

The measure would dramatically curtail federal funding to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. The proposal has always been sought by conservative lawmakers in Congress.

Under Title X, $260 million in federal dollars is now dedicated to contraception and "other family planning" initiatives. There are already laws in place that prevent federal money from directly funding abortions, but groups like Planned Parenthood still accept federal dollars for services like annual screenings and checkups. However, anti-abortion rights advocates have long made cutting funds to any group providing abortions or referring patients for abortions a high priority.

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