If the rule change works, thank Trump

Published 10:53 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

I am not a fan of Donald Trump. Those of you who read what I write will know this already. But it doesn’t mean I think everything he does is wrong. And I am more than happy to give him credit when he does things well.

And one recent policy I can support is his administration’s decision to resurrect the Reagan-era rule that bans federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions.

Lawsuits will likely keep the new rule from taking effect for a while (if ever), but it is a change that is intended to save lives.

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The rule as originally created barred federally funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with women. The rule never went into effect as written, and was rescinded under President Bill Clinton.

The new Trump administration rule will roll back the Clinton requirement that abortion should be discussed as an option along with prenatal care and adoption, The Associated Press reported.

Already, federal law prohibits family planning funds (known as Title X) from being used to pay for abortions. But with the rule change, abortions will no longer be discussed as options for mothers who use services at these clinics.

As a general rule, I don’t think federal funds or a federally funded program should have any connection to abortion. Abortion is wrong for many reasons, but at its most basic level it’s wrong because to support it you have to be willing to deny life to another human. Or you have to be willing to say that a fetus is not human.

We know that’s not the case. We’ve seen the ultrasounds. We’ve heard the heartbeats. To argue that a child with fingers and toes is not human is inhumane.

Others will disagree.

“This is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights, period,” said Dawn Laguens, a senior Planned Parenthood executive.

“I cannot imagine a scenario in which public health groups would allow this effort to go unchallenged,” said Jessica Marcella of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, which represents family planning clinics.

In their view, abortion is a form of health care and is a right that should be guaranteed. Again, in their view, the child being killed has no rights or either isn’t a child.

The rule change will not stop all women from getting abortions, but it will end the requirement that abortion be presented as an option for women who visit clinics that receive federal funds for family planning.

Will the rule change reduce the number of abortions? I hope so. If it goes into effect and results in fewer abortions, we’ll have Trump to thank.

Publisher Luke Horton can be reached at luke.horton@dailyleader.com.