Tuesday July 16, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump to Prohibit Abortion Referrals by Family Planning Clinics

The administration plan also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum, May 22, 2018, in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration said Friday that it would bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, a move certain to be challenged in court by abortion rights supporters.

The final rule released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department pleased religious conservatives, a key building block of President Donald Trump’s political base.

The administration plan also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood has said the administration appears to be targeting them, and calls the policy a “gag rule.”

abortion
Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman. Pixabay

The regulation was published Friday on an HHS website . It’s not official until it appears in the Federal Register and the department said there could be “minor editorial changes.” A department official confirmed it was the final version.

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 1.6 million women. The grant program costs taxpayers about $260 million annually.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.

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The final rule released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department pleased religious conservatives, a key building block of President Donald Trump’s political base.Pixabay

Abortion opponents praised the administration’s move.

“We are celebrating the newly finalized Title X rules that will redirect some taxpayer resources away from abortion vendors,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement. Although federal family planning funds by law cannot be used to pay for abortions, religious conservatives have long argued that the program indirectly subsidizes Planned Parenthood.

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A group representing family planning clinics decried the administration’s decision.

“This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need,” Clare Coleman, head of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement. (VOA)

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Madras HC: Rape Victims Should Not be Unnecessarily Compelled to “Knock Doors of Court” for Abortion

"The victim girl should not be unnecessarily forced to move court for abortion"

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The victim then moved the high court, which directed her to get admitted to a government hospital to get medically assessed for abortion. Pixabay

The Madras High Court has said that rape victims should not be unnecessarily compelled to “knock doors of the court” to terminate their unwanted pregnancy.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh, in his order delivered June 19, ruled that if a victim suffers an unwanted pregnancy and its duration has not exceed 20 weeks, then the “victim need not be referred to the medical board and the termination of pregnancy can be done as per the provisions of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971.

“The victim girl should not be unnecessarily made to knock the doors of this court.” If the pregnancy has not breached the 20 weeks mark, then the length of the pregnancy is irrelevant, and instead the life of the pregnant woman shall be prioritized, the court said.

abortion, rape victims
Madras high court. Wikimedia Commons

For isolated cases, where the length of pregnancy has exceeded 20 weeks, the medical practitioner shall take immediate steps in accordance with the MTP Act to save the pregnant woman’s life, it said. The victim, in this case, was blackmailed into having sexual intercourse and had got pregnant. Eight weeks into the pregnancy, after being denied any relief from government hospital, she moved the court.

The police informed the court that victim had requested assistance in terminating the pregnancy during the registration of the rape case. However, police apparently refused to help her, and then she pooled her resources to get admission in a private hospital, but was discharged without undergoing abortion.

The victim then moved the high court, which directed her to get admitted to a government hospital to get medically assessed for abortion. The victim had, on June 8, consulted a doctor at the government-run Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children and General Hospital here. The doctor found her eight weeks pregnant but instead of terminating the pregnancy, referred her to another government hospital.

abortion, rape victims
“The victim girl should not be unnecessarily made to knock the doors of this court.” VOA

On June 12, the high court gave strict instructions to admit her at a government hospital and carry out the necessary medical procedure. On June 17, the doctors aborted the pregnancy. On June 19, the matter came up for further hearing before the court, which remarked that the hospitals wrongly interpreted the provisions of the MTP Act, and made the victim run from pillar to post.

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Lashing at the government and doctors, the court said: “In cases of this nature, the doctors and the courts need to be more sensitive and should act fast since the victim girl is carrying a foetus, which keeps reminding her of the agony faced by her due to rape and every moment she suffers mental agony and depression due to the unwanted pregnancy that has been forced against her.”

As the victim’s counsel requested the court to issue guidelines to ease the abortion process for rape victims, the court said that medical boards have already been constituted across the country to address request of similar nature. (IANS)