Biden administration begins to undo Trump changes to family planning program

The Biden administration on Wednesday took the first steps to undo Trump-era restrictions on the Title X federally funded family planning program, which effectively prevented clinics that referred patients for abortions from receiving federal funding.

A proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published Wednesday would eventually revoke the restrictions put in place by the Trump administration, which critics called a domestic “gag” rule.

Not an immediate change: However, the proposal did not immediately revoke the prior policy, and the Trump rules will remain in place until the current administration formally ends them through a final rule, which could take months.

A 30-day public comment period begins April 15, when the proposal is formally published.

The proposed rule would largely revert the Title X program to the way it was run from 2000 until the Trump administration changed the rules in 2019.

Background: The Trump administration issued rules in 2019 banning any providers that receive Title X funds from referring people for abortions while mandating referrals to prenatal services for all pregnant patients.

After the rules took effect, about one-quarter of nearly 4,000 providers left the program, arguing they could not in good conscience agree not to provide patients with information about abortion. As a result, several states were left with no Title X providers.