Gov. Pritzker: Illinois to refuse to implement gag rule on women's health

Gov. Pritzker: Illinois to refuse to implement gag rule on women's health

All three IL organizations set to receive millions of dollars in federal family planning funds are declining them due to new rules they say are "unethical" and keeping money "hostage" from impoverished patients.

Two people who attended meetings this week between the Department of Health and Human Services and clinic representatives told The Associated Press that officials said they might be willing to allow more time to comply.

Planned Parenthood is declining $3.5 million in Title X funding.

HHS said Friday that its policy has not changed. That money goes to local health departments, health centers and hospitals, according to a government document.

At least two other states, Maryland and MA, took similar pre-emptive countermeasures months ago, enacting legislation to temporarily opt out of Title X if the new rule takes effect, and to provide state funding in its place.

In another effort to challenge the administration's rule on abortion referrals, Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors joined 21 other state attorneys general in a lawsuit against Trump's Title X restrictions.

A large chain of abortion and family planning clinics in ME says it will not follow a new Trump administration pro-life rule and will lose $2 million in annual federal funds. The clinics also provide basic health services, including screening for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.

An independent family planning provider in ME announced that it too would continue to refer for abortions and eschew federal funding. While I'm committed to bringing as many federal dollars to the state as possible, I refuse to sacrifice our values and allow vital care to lapse.

"[The funding] is to ensure that we have providers of reproductive services, including abortion services, to people in our communities that may need them", Baker said.

The Illinois Republican Party denounced Pritzker's willingness to turn away federal funding of "non-abortion-related medical care for women and girls because of his unrivaled zeal for forced taxpayer funding of abortions".

Officials for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which administers Title X, did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters seeking comment on Illinois' action.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld those rules in a case called Rust v. Sullivan, deciding the agency authorized to oversee the Title X program should be given "substantial deference" in interpreting the law creating it.

Her clinic received federal Title X funding until July 1, when the state's funding kicked in.

"President Trump's gag rule undermines women's health care and threatens the providers that millions of women and girls rely on, and we will not let that stand in the state of IL", the governor said in a statement.

Title X does not pay for abortions, but recipients have in the past been able to refer patients for abortion. "In this state, we trust women to make their own health care decisions and will guarantee access to reproductive health care for all of our residents".

"To counter those who associate the organization with only abortion and use this misconception to attack its mission, I wanted to tell the story of all of its services - and in so doing, to normalize abortion care as the health care it is", Wen said.

Mary Kate Knorr is director of Illinois Right to Life.

The administration's policy is aimed at fulfilling Trump's campaign pledge to end federal support for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides abortions and other health services for women under Title X.

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