- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

President Trump said his administration was making history Tuesday night with a new proposed rule banning health-care providers that offer abortion services from receiving federal funding, as he called on supporters to vote against Democratic senators who are blocking pro-life legislation.

Speaking at the annual Susan B. Anthony List awards event in Washington, Mr. Trump said the new proposal under Title X is “historic” by reversing decades of federal policy.

“For decades, American taxpayers have been wrongfully forced to subsidize the abortion industry through Title X federal funding,” Mr. Trump said to sustained applause. “Today, we have kept another promise. My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions.”

Under the new rule, health-care providers at federally funded clinics could not advise women considering an abortion on where to get one. The policy says money distributed under Title X of 1970 must be “physically and financially separate from programs in which abortion is provided or presented as a method of family planning, including programs that refer for abortions and programs that encourage, promote or advocate abortion as a method of family planning.”

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, hailed the move as long overdue.

“Abortion is not healthcare,” she said. “For ten years strong Marist polling indicates that the majority of Americans do not want their taxpayer dollars subsidizing abortion companies. Meanwhile, not one dime of Title X funds will be cut, and the low-income women who those funds are intended to help, will receive authentic health care at federally qualified health centers which outnumber abortion centers 20:1.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez blasted the administration’s move as “a brazen and shameful assault on women, their rights, and their health.”

“The Trump administration’s new rule would kneecap Title X – a program 4 million Americans each year rely on for affordable birth control and reproductive health care – threatening the health of millions of women and their families across the country,” he said. “Make no mistake, this proposed rule is just the latest Trump administration attack on access to health care in America.”

The president also urged the Senate to approve House-passed legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks. In a preview of the mid-term election campaign, Mr. Trump indicated he’ll make it an issue for incumbent Democratic senators in states that he won in 2016.

“Democrats in the Senate are doing everything within their power to block it,” he said of the bill. “On this issue, like so many other issues, the Democratic Party is far outside the American mainstream.”

He said the U.S. “is one of only seven countries in the world to allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, when unborn babies can truly feel the pain.”

“Yet Democratic senators like Jon Tester [of Montana], Heidi Heitkamp [of North Dakota], Claire McCaskill [of Missouri], and Debbie Stabenow [of Michigan] all voted against the 20-week bill and in favor of late-term abortion,” Mr. Trump said. “Got to get out and vote. We’re nine votes away from passing the 20-week abortion bill in the Senate. So we have to get them out of there. The Democratic senators are up for reelection in 10 states that I won by a lot.”

He added, “If we work hard between now and November, every one of these states can be flipped to a senator who shares our values and votes our agenda. Democrats like to campaign as moderates at election time, but when they go to Washington, they always vote for the radical [Nancy] Pelosi agenda down the line.”

At one point in his speech, Mr. Trump poked fun at his own speechwriters while talking about the mid-term elections. He said the 2018 election is “every bit as important” as the presidential contest in 2016.

“I’m not sure I believe that,” the president said in an aside. “I don’t know who the hell wrote that line.”

The Susan B. Anthony event honored White House counselor Kellyanne Conway as a “distinguished leader.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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