Anti-Choice Clinic Network Sues Because It Has to Use Title X Funds for Abortion Referrals

By: Dennis Carter, Rewire.News, May 21, 2019

The Obria Group, a network of anti-choice clinics, is suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) because the organization is required—for now—to provide abortion referrals with the Title X funding it received.

The Trump administration hopes to ban abortion referrals at clinics that receive Title X funding and force providers to physically and financially separate abortion services from family planning services. The federal family planning program serves around 4 million mostly low-income people in the United States.

“One wonders why Obria chose to apply, repeatedly, for a grant with requirements Obria now says are antithetical to its religious beliefs,” said Alice Huling, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability, in a statement to Rewire.News. “It appears that Obria was counting on never actually having to provide the healthcare services covered by the Title X funding it applied for and received.

The Campaign for Accountability, a watchdog group investigating Obria’s relationship with Trump’s HHS, has documented questionable aspects of Obria’s Title X applications.

Obria Group’s decision to sue HHS, Huling said, exposes the true intention of Trump’s domestic “gag rule” to divert funding for real health-care clinics to centers operated by anti-choice activists who have long opposed the Title X program.

“Patients should not be denied access to Title X services based upon the religious beliefs of the grant recipient administering their care,” Huling said. “The Title X program is meant to provide comprehensive family planning, and HHS should not grant Title X funding to an organization that refuses to provide the requisite healthcare services.”

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