Trump Administration Restores Title X Regulations to Separate Family Planning from Abortion

Change restores previous regulations prohibiting grantees from co-locating with abortion clinics or from referring clients for abortion

HHS Secretary Alex Azar

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced a final rule to restore Title X family planning regulations to prohibit grantees from co-locating with abortion clinics, or from referring clients for abortion.

In spite of pro-abortion distortions, the rule does not cut family planning funding. It merely ensures that health facilities receiving Title X funds do not perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.

“We thank President Trump and Health & Human Services Secretary Azar for their numerous actions to restore pro-life policies,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We are encouraged to see the announcement of Title X regulations that are back in line with previous policy that prevents federal dollars from being used to directly or indirectly promote abortion domestically.”

Under the new directive, which will take effect in 60 days, organizations receiving Title X funding have 120 days to financially separate their family planning and abortion operations and one year to physically separate their family planning and abortion operations.

Congress created Title X in 1970 as a preventative family planning program. Congress wrote language into the statute to ensure the program did not directly or indirectly promote abortion.

Unfortunately, after Roe v. Wade, this language gradually became a dead letter. Title X grantees were first permitted, then required, to routinely refer all pregnant women regarding abortion as a “pregnancy management option.” For all practical purposes, some Title X grantees treated abortion as “a method of family planning,” despite the statutory prohibition.

Pro-life President Donald Trump

During the Reagan Administration, regulations were issued, with National Right to Life’s strong support, to restore the original character of Title X by prohibiting referral for abortion except in life endangering circumstances. Additionally, abortion facilities could not generally share the same location with a Title X site.

In the 1991 Rust v. Sullivan decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found similar regulations permissible.

However, the Clinton Administration would later reverse these regulations.

In early May 2018, nearly 200 Members of Congress and numerous pro-life groups, including National Right to Life, urged the Trump administration to reinstate pro-life policy regarding Title X regulations, separating abortion services and referrals from the Title X Program.