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Senate to Vote to Restore Trump-Era Block on Abortion Referrals

April 27, 2022, 1:29 PM

The Senate plans this week to take up a resolution to restore a prohibition on clinics that receive federal money from advising women on ending their pregnancies.

A now-defunct regulation barring clinics in the federal program known as Title X from making referrals to abortion providers was a major victory for the Trump administration. The Biden administration reversed it in a 2021 rule.

The Senate could vote as soon as Wednesday on the resolution (S.J. Res. 41) by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) disapproving the Biden rule. Should it pass, the vote would be symbolic. The House could decline to take it up and if it did, Democrats have a large enough majority to block the measure, which would face President Joe Biden’s veto.

Abortion-related legislation has reached the Senate floor several times this session with little sign either side can make changes. Democrats have tried in vain to enshrine the right to abortion access into law, while Republicans have offered bills limiting federal funding for programs related to abortion.

The Supreme Court is slated to rule on a challenge to a Texas law severely restricting abortion services that could have far-reaching implications for similar laws across the country.

The Trump-era regulation barring Title X clinics from making referrals to abortion providers resulted in almost 25% of participants in the program leaving, Guttmacher Institute data show. It also reduced the Title X network’s capacity to provide women with contraceptive services by at least 46%, or roughly 1.6 million patients.

Rubio, in a statement, said the Trump regulation didn’t reduce Title X funding but “redirected it to providers that do not perform or promote abortions as part of their ‘family planning’ practices.”

The resolution has 36 co-sponsors.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters Tuesday she plans to vote against the resolution.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ruoff in Washington at aruoff@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com; Robin Meszoly at rmeszoly@bgov.com

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