Planned Parenthood says it won't comply with a Trump administration rule that bars taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions.
Jacqueline Ayers, the organization's top lobbyist, said Tuesday that Planned Parenthood clinics will stop accepting federal money as they press Congress and the courts to reverse the administration's new requirement.
Ayers told The Associated Press in an interview that Planned Parenthood will tap emergency funding, but she's not sure how long that can last. She says Planned Parenthood believes it is wrong for health care providers to withhold information from patients.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services informed clinics Monday that it will begin enforcing the ban on abortion referrals, as well as a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions.
The Trump administration's ban on taxpayer-funded family planning clinics referring women for abortions has prompted a major provider in Maine to announce it is dropping out of the program after nearly 50 years.
Others may follow.
"It is objectionable that the federal government is so arrogant as to dictate what our medical professionals can and cannot say to our patients," George Hill, president of Maine Family Planning, said in an interview. Hill said his organization will return any unused federal money, and try to replace $2 million in annual government funding with fundraising efforts and its own resources.
The Maine program serves about 23,000 people a year, mainly low-income women.
Ahead of a planned conference with family planning clinics, the federal Department of Health and Human Services formally notified them that it will begin enforcing a new regulation banning abortion referrals.
Also going into effect is a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions.
Another requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot share physical space would take effect next year.
Known as Title X, the family planning program serves about 4 million women annually through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 40 percent of all clients. The program provides about $260 million a year in grants to clinics. It does not pay for abortions.
Planned Parenthood is widely seen as the target of the administration's rule, which is being challenged around the country in court cases that have yet to resolve the core issues involved.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.