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Trump thrusts abortion fight into crucial midterm elections

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and
Jill Colvin
Wire Service Correspondents

“I cannot imagine a scenario in which public health groups would allow this effort to go unchallenged,” Marcella said.

But abortion opponents said Trump is merely reaffirming the core mission of the family planning program.

“The new regulations will draw a bright line between abortion centers and family planning programs, just as…federal law requires and the Supreme Court has upheld,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a key voice for religious conservatives.

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said, “Abortion is not health care or birth control and many women want natural health care choices, rather than hormone-induced changes.”

Abortion opponents allege the federal family planning program in effect cross-subsidizes abortions provided by Planned Parenthood, whose clinics are also major recipients of grants for family planning and basic preventive care. Hawkins’ group is circulating a petition to urge lawmakers to support the Trump administration’s proposal.

Abortion opponents say the administration plan is not a “gag rule.” It “will not prohibit counseling for clients about abortion…but neither will it include the current mandate that (clinics) must counsel and refer for abortion,” said the administration’s own summary.

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Associated Press writer David Crary in New York contributed to this report.

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