The House Rules Committee Tuesday will hold a hearing on a final rule issued last December by HHS that prohibited states from blocking Title X funding to family planning providers.
The rule took effect just two days before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and was viewed at the time as a temporary reprieve for reproductive health clinics. Republicans in congress and state legislatures long have been trying to pull federal funding from abortion providers.
With a GOP-controlled Congress and more states under Republican leadership, abortion rights activists believe they’re facing significant battles to maintain access for patients. That’s despite the fact that the Hyde Amendment already makes it illegal for providers to use federal funding to perform abortions.
“I think we would be diluting ourselves if we were to say that these programs and these providers didn’t have a target on their back right now,” said Kinsey Hasstedt, a senior policy manager at the Guttmacher Institute in an interview last December.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence say they aim to severely limit abortion services. Trump has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, a leading source of free or discounted birth control, and to appoint Supreme Court justices who would help overturn Roe v. Wade.
Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick to replace Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who died a year ago, appears to share pretty conservative views on abortion. While Gorsuch has never ruled on a case regarding abortion, he has said that taking any human life is wrong. He has not, however, directly stated that he believes a fetus to be a human being.
Steven Ross Johnson has been a staff reporter for Modern Healthcare magazine since 2013 and covers issues involving public health and other healthcare news. Johnson has been a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Progress Illinois, the Chicago Reporter and the Times of Northwest Indiana and a government affairs reporter for the Courier-News in Elgin, Ill. He received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Columbia College in Chicago and a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.