The Corner

Health Care

Clarifying The Title X Rule

Over at The Federalist earlier this week, Willis Krumholz wrote about the administration’s new Title X funding rule. (I discussed the rule here last Friday.)

He calls for further steps to keep federal dollars from Planned Parenthood, and such would certainly be welcome. But he also understates what the administration has proposed. Krumholz writes:

President Trump’s regulation brings back the co-location prohibition, but it does not bring back Reagan’s ban on abortion referrals.

But it does. Here is the text of the proposed rule, which went out for public comment yesterday. Section 59.14 of the rule (entitled “prohibition on referral for abortion”) states that “A Title X project may not perform, promote, refer for, or support, abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any other affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.” It’s true the rule does not bring back Reagan’s prohibition on counseling for abortion (the so-called “gag rule”) but it does prohibit direct referrals.

Krumholz also writes that the new rule relates only to surgical and not chemical abortion (like the abortion pill). But the rule covers both. It is rooted in the definition of abortion that otherwise applies in federal law, which includes both surgical and chemical abortion.

His other proposals are well worth your while, but his description of the newly proposed rule (which, in his defense, had not been released yet) was a bit off.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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