WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - President Donald Trump is announcing a plan to sever taxpayer funding to U.S. abortion mills.
After repeated congressional failures to defund Planned Parenthood, the President is pushing to revive a Reagan-era rule banning "family planning" centers that receive taxpayer funding under Title X from making abortion referrals, discussing abortion with clients and from sharing space with abortion facilities.
Pro-life advocates are hailing the move. Speaking with Church Militant on Friday, American Life League (ALL) president and co-founder Judie Brown praised the commander-in-chief for the initiative
"We have been asking for this to be done for nearly 40 years," Brown said. "Thank God Trump has answered the call of the pre-born children. Bless him!"
The federal Title X program provides $260 million a year to centers that dole out contraception to low-income Americans.
Established in 1970, Title X is barred from giving money to "programs where abortion is a method of family planning." But for nearly two decades after it was enacted, the law creating Title X was interpreted to allow abortion referrals.
In 1988, President Reagan introduced a rule to close this loophole, but its enforcement was blocked by challenges in court, until Bill Clinton killed it.
Speaking to The Weekly Standard, a Trump administration official explained that "unlike the Reagan regulation, the proposal will not prohibit counseling for clients about abortion, but neither will it include the current, potentially illegal mandate that projects must counsel and refer for abortion."
"This proposal does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood," the representative noted, "as long as they're willing to disentangle taxpayer funds from abortion as a method of family planning, which is required by the Title X law."
"Any grantees that perform, support, or refer for abortion have a choice — disentangle themselves from abortion or fund their activities with privately raised funds," the official said, adding that Trump's proposal "would require a bright line of physical as well as financial separation between Title X programs and any program (or facility) where abortion is performed, supported, or referred for as a method of family planning."
Under the new proposal, Planned Parenthood would still benefit from hundreds of millions in taxpayer funding, as most of the more than half a billion dollars it receives from the government each year is funneled through Medicaid and can be severed only by an act of Congress.
Though the impact of the action will be limited, Trump's decision has Planned Parenthood officials fuming. Dawn Laguens, the abortion giant's executive vice president, blasted the move, saying it is "designed to make it impossible for millions of patients to get birth control or preventive care" and "would have devastating consequences across the country."
Pro-lifers are cheering the president's executive push, especially in light of repeated failures by establishment Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.
"It is indeed a blessing that President Trump is finally going to act to defend life by cutting Title X funds from abortion providers and promoters," Brown told Church Militant.
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser echoed Brown's praise.
"We thank President Trump for taking action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business," she said. "This is a major victory which will energize the grass roots as we head into the critical midterm elections."