President of the United States Joe Biden has begun reversing former president Donald Trump’s abortion referral ban.
Trump’s abortion referral ban led to Planned Parenthood leaving the federal family planning program. The ban meant that taxpayer-funded family planning clinics could not refer women for abortions. Planned Parenthood is an organisation that provides taxpayer-funded family planning along with basic health care to women with low incomes. The organisation also provides for abortions that the client would need to pay for separately.
Planned Parenthood decided to leave the federal family planning program instead of abiding by the new rule that prohibited clinics from referring women for abortions. Acting President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson stated that the organisation would remain open and aim to make up for the loss of federal money. Johnson stated that “We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients. Our patients deserve to make their own health care decisions.”
The abortion referral ban will remain in effect until it is replaced by the Biden administration. The process can take months, but officials stated that exercising restraint will increase the chances that the changes will be upheld in court.
The Biden administration estimated that as a result of the policy change, the program serves about 1.5 million fewer women per year. That is a 37 per cent reduction from the average caseload from 2016 to 2018. It was also estimated that the referral bad may have lead up to 180,000 unintended pregnancies.
The rule reversal on the abortion referral ban is proceeding alongside litigation over the administration policy before the Supreme Court. The justices agreed to hear a challenge to the abortion referral ban Biden is attempting to reverse. The new Biden administration’s rule will need to go through a notice-and-comment period along with an additional review before being finalised. The entire process can take several months.