The Trump administration is resurrecting a Reagan-era rule that would ban federally funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with women, or sharing space with abortion providers.
The Department of Health and Human Services is submitting its proposal Friday.
Doctors' groups and abortion rights supporters say a ban on counseling women trespasses on the doctor-patient relationship. They point out that federal family planning funds cannot be currently used to pay for abortion procedures.
Sarah Croucher, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, said the rule would withhold critical health care information and disproportionately impact lower-income patients.
“It’s also going to have big impacts on community health centers,” Croucher said, “because those community health centers are no longer going to be able to tell people where they can go to access abortion care.”
Known as Title X, the nation's family-planning program serves about 4 million women a year through clinics, at a cost to taxpayers of about $260 million.
Croucher said it’s unlikely that the state of Connecticut would have funds to replace those that could be lost from the federal government.
“This is blocking states in enacting health care policy that fits with the state as a whole,” she said. “In Connecticut we have broad, genuine bipartisan support for a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion. This federal rule is really going to block Connecticut women’s specific constitutional right in our state to access abortion care.”
Abortion opponents say a taxpayer-funded family planning program should have no connection whatsoever to abortion.
The rule is likely to be challenged in federal court.
This report contains information from the Associated Press.