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President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday reversed a rule by his predecessor, Donald Trump, that prohibited public funds from going to family planning clinics that refer abortion procedures to other specialists.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement that it issued a final rule that will take effect Nov. 8 and is intended to strengthen the program known as “Title X,” which allocates federal funding for abortion procedures.
This program does not allow public funds to pay for procedures to end a pregnancy, but the measure approved by the previous administration even prevented centers financed with these resources from referring their patients to other places for abortions.
The new measure comes at a time when the discussion on abortion is experiencing a new chapter in the country after the approval of a law in Texas that prohibits this intervention at six weeks of gestation.
HHS detailed that the new regulation reverses “the Trump administration’s (2017-2021) changes to the program.”
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Before Trump’s 2019 rule went into effect, “Title X” had an annual budget of $260 million a year and served 4 million patients at 4,000 clinics across the United States.
But between 2018 and 2020, the number of patients served under that grant fell by 2 million, HHS noted, citing the Family Planning Annual Report, which noted a “significant decline in the number of clients served in 2020” under this program, attributed to Trump’s regulation.
Health Secretary Xavier Becerra explained in the release that the new rule “aims to strengthen and restore Title X.”
The move will ultimately approve more federal funds to finance abortions.