Trump Administration turns the screws on abortion

It has been a bad week for legal abortion in the United States. Two developments have kept abortion and Planned Parenthood in the headlines.

In the first, a decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco handed at least a temporary victory to the Trump Administration’s campaign against abortion.

In March the Administration issued rules which banned taxpayer-funded clinics from referring for abortions and banned taxpayer-funded clinics from sharing office space with abortion providers. This makes many clinics unworkable. The measures were widely interpreted as an attack on Planned Parenthood.

The rules were immediately challenged and blocked by lower courts. But the 9th Circuit ruled that they were a “reasonable” interpretation of existing law.

"The Trump-Pence administration's gag rule is unethical, illegal, and harmful to public health," said Dr Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood. The news out of the 9th Circuit this morning is devastating for the millions of people who rely on Title X health centres for cancer screenings, HIV tests, affordable birth control and other critical primary and preventive care."

In other news, health officials in the state of Missouri have refused to renew the license of the state’s only abortion clinic, run by Planned Parenthood of St. Louis. It remains open thanks to an injunction blocking its closure, but the writing is on the wall. The local representative of Planned Parenthood accused state officials of “weaponizing the regulatory process”.

Missouri could become the first state in decades without an abortion clinic. It is one of 12 states so far in 2019 which have passed laws restricting abortion access. The local representative of Planned Parenthood accused state officials of “weaponizing the regulatory process”.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge     

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